In its new landmark report, the Energy Transitions Commission (ETC) demonstrates that the world can achieve net-zero emissions by mid-century, without permanently relying on carbon offsets from the energy system and industry. Achieving net-zero is achievable while also promoting economic growth and a rising standard of living, across the developing and developed regions. This would entail a total estimated investment of USD1 trillion to USD2 trillion per year. This is equivalent to up to 1.5 per cent of global GDP and a small increase of global investment of about a quarter of global GDP. The COVID pandemic, in particular, underscores the urgency as well as the unique opportunity to invest in a more climate resilient economy.
The report integrates the ETCs latest findings on technology cost-readiness and regions to outline three critical steps necessary to achieve the net-zero goal. These include; (i) improvements in energy efficiency and a shift towards a circular economy (ii) scaling up renewable energy power at a pace of 5-6 times higher than today and expanding the production of zero-carbon energy sources like hydrogen (iii) electrifying applications across transport, buildings and industry and deploying new processes like hydrogen, carbon capture and biomass for sectors that cannot be fully electrified (e.g. heavy industry or long-distance shipping and aviation).
The ETC also lays out critical action areas for nations and non-state parties to prioritise in the run up to COP26 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in November 2021, in order make net-zero by 2050 within reach. These include accelerating the deployment of renewable power generation, removing fossil fuel subsidies, supporting a carbon price, and enabling investment into the development of zero-carbon technologies for hard-to-abate sectors.