ETC report: Halving carbon emissions by 2040 is within reach, but leaders must act now to accelerate energy transitions

A new report from the Energy Transitions Commission (ETC) has outlined the opportunity to halve global carbon emissions by 2040 if governments, investors and businesses act now in accelerating a sustainable energy transition.

The Energy Transitions Commission’s flagship report Better energy, Greater prosperity, sets out achievable pathways to meet the Paris Agreement objective of limiting global warming to well below 2°C while stimulating economic development and social progress.

Yet this will only be achieved if world leaders act now to significantly increase progress on clean electrification, decarbonize beyond power and secure an energy productivity revolution.

Rachel Kyte, CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All - and an ETC Commissioner – said: “This report shows us that it is both technically and economically feasible to both grow economies and provide affordable, reliable and clean energy to all while staying in the limits of the Paris Agreement.

“To put the world on a well below 2˚C pathway, we must decarbonize power generation and extend electrification to a wider set of activities in the transport and buildings sectors. Clean electrification alone could deliver half of the carbon emissions reductions required by 2040.”

Key conclusions of the report include:

  • Falling costs of renewables and batteries make cost-effective, clean electricity unstoppable and essential to the transition to a low-carbon, energy-abundant world.
  • There is still untapped potential to improve energy productivity – i.e. how effectively energy is used to generate GDP. Growth of 3% per annum could be achieved with the right policies effectively implemented.
  • Rapid progress is now required on other technologies, including bioenergy, hydrogen and all forms of carbon capture and sequestration, to drive complete decarbonization. But even with large scale CCS deployment, which is currently not on track, fossil fuels use must fall 30% by 2040, with rapid decline of unabated coal.

The Commission brings together a diverse group of individuals from the energy and climate communities: investors, incumbent energy companies, industry disruptors, equipment suppliers, energy-intensive industries, non-profit organizations, advisors, and academics from across the developed and developing world.

For more information on the report and the Commission, visit the website here or read the reports press release.

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