Image: IEA

The International Energy Agency is to produce what it calls “the world’s first comprehensive roadmap for the energy sector to reach net-zero emissions by 2050”.

Plans for the World’s Roadmap to Net Zero by 2050 initiative was unveiled in Paris yesterday and will set out in detail what is needed from governments, companies, investors and citizens to fully decarbonise the energy sector and put emissions on a path in line with a temperature rise of 1.5 degrees Celsius.

“Nothing short of a total transformation of our energy infrastructure will be required,” said IEA executive director Fatih Birol. “That calls for decisive action this year, next year and indeed every year to 2050.”

The new roadmap will be released on 18 May and build momentum ahead of the COP26 Summit in the UK in November. It is part of a series of new IEA projects to support efforts to reach global energy and climate goals.

Dozens of countries – including most of the world’s largest economies – and many leading companies have already announced plans to bring their emissions down to zero by around the middle of this century.

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But the IEA believes much work remains to be done to translate these ambitious targets into actual reductions in emissions.

“The energy that powers our daily lives and our economies also produces three-quarters of global emissions,” said IEA executive director said Dr Fatih Birol. “This means our climate challenge is essentially an energy challenge.

“The IEA is determined to tackle that challenge and lead global clean energy transitions,” 

Birol said the new roadmap “can play a vital role in helping countries identify and implement the actions needed to achieve climate, energy security and affordability goals.”

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COP26 President Alok Sharma said: “The IEA’s plan to produce a pathway to net zero global emissions by 2050 is another important step for climate action. This will make clear the actions countries must take individually and collectively to meet that goal.”

The COP26 Summit takes place in the UK in November.

The IEA also yesterday announced that reinvigorating international energy cooperation will be a major theme of its second Clean Energy Transitions Summit.

Following the inaugural event last year, the 2021 summit will be co-hosted with the UK government on 31 March and will focus on how governments can work together more effectively to ensure long-term net-zero targets are translated into concrete action in the run up to COP26.

Alok Sharma

Sharma – who is to leave his role as UK Business Secretary to focus full time on COP26 – said that international collaboration “is at the heart of the UK’s COP26 Presidency and I am proud that the UK Government will co-host the COP26-IEA Clean Energy Transitions Summit to help accelerate the global shift to clean, affordable and resilient energy.”

The IEA has also launched a global commission headed by Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen that is intended to bring together government leaders, ministers and prominent thinkers to explore how best to empower citizens to benefit from the opportunities and navigate the disruptions resulting from clean energy transitions.

The new commission will be called Our Inclusive Energy Future will consider the social and economic impacts on individuals and communities, as well as issues of affordability and fairness, with the aim of putting people at the heart of clean energy transitions.

The commission’s meetings will be chaired by Danish Energy, Climate and Utilities Minister Dan Jørgensen and result in key recommendations in advance of COP26.

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