22 February 2023 12 : 00 AM to 1 : 00 PM
With less than three decades left to halt the continuous increase in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions into the atmosphere (i.e., achieving net-zero), the next few years will be critical for our planet. Already, the earth is about 1.1°C warmer than it was in the late 1800s. To limit global warming to around 1.5°C, as called for in the Paris Agreement, GHG emissions need to peak by 2025 and fall by 43% before 2030, according to the latest report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). At the same time, carbon dioxide emissions need to reach net zero globally in the early 2050s.
As of November 2022, around 140 countries had announced or were considering net-zero targets. However, despite the pledges and efforts by governments and businesses to deal with the causes of global warming, CO2 emissions from energy and industry have increased by 60% since the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change was signed in 1992. In fact, current national climate plans – for all 193 Parties to the Paris Agreement – would lead to an alarming increase of almost 13.7% in global GHG emissions by 2030 compared to 2010 levels.
As the biggest single GHG emitting sector, responsible for around three-quarters of GHG emissions, the energy sector has a pivotal role to play in the transition to net-zero. This must involve fundamental changes and requires more efficient energy consumption, a huge decline in the use of fossil fuels, rapid deployment of available clean-energy technologies, and widespread use of technologies that are not on the market. The latter will need huge leaps in innovation.
However, there’s a rocky road ahead. Wide-scale adoption of renewable energy is still a long way off, the global energy mix is still dominated by fossil fuels, and about USD 4 trillion a year needs to be invested in renewable energy until 2030 to allow the world to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Additionally, while global energy demand in 2050 is expected to be around 8% smaller than today, it will serve an economy more than twice as big – and a population with 2 billion more people.
The first webinar of our 2023 series will host a panel of international experts from industry and academia to discuss the energy sector’s transition to net zero, including current targets and future scenarios, and the extent to which these goals are achievable.
The Al-Attiyah Foundation
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