An overview of the motivations behind the writing of this book, the scientific background and context of the research. Brief outline of all methodologies used, followed by assumptions and the storyline of each scenario. Presentation of main results of the renewable energy resources assessment, transport scenario, longterm energy pathway, the power sector analysis, employment analysis and an assessment for required metals for renewable energy and storage technologies. Key results of non-energy greenhouse mitigation scenarios which are developed in support of the energy scenario in order to achieve the 1.5 °C target. Concluding remarks and policy recommendations including graphs and tables.
The Paris Climate Agreement aims to hold global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius (°C) and to “pursue efforts” to limit it to 1.5 °C. To accomplish this, countries have submitted Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) outlining their post-2020 climate actions (Rogelj 2016). This research aimed to develop practical pathways to achieve the Paris climate goals based on a detailed bottom-up examination of the potential of the energy sector, in order to avoid reliance on net negative emissions later on.
The study described in this book focuses on the ways in which humans produce energy, because energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are the main drivers of climate change. The analysis also considers the development pathways for non-energy-related emissions and mitigation measures for them because it is essential to address their contributions if we are to achieve the Paris climate change targets.
State of Research—Climate
Beyond reasonable doubt, climate change over the last 250 years has been driven by anthropogenic activities. In fact, the human-induced release of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere warms the planet even more than is currently observed as climate change, but some of that greenhouse-gas-induced warming is masked by the effect of aerosol emissions.
Global Trends in the Energy Sector In 2017, the ongoing trends continued: solar photovoltaics (PV) and wind power dominated the global market for new power plants; the price of renewable energy technologies continued to decline; and fossil fuel prices remained low. A new benchmark was reached, in that the new renewable capacity began to compete favourably with existing fossil fuel power plants in some markets. Electrification of the transport and heating sectors is gaining attention, and although the amount of electrification is currently small, the use of renewable technologies is expected to increase significantly.
The growth of solar PV has been remarkable and is nearly double that of the second-ranking wind power. The capacity of new solar PV in 2017 was greater than the combined increases in the coal, gas and nuclear capacities. Renewable energy technologies achieved a global average generation share of 23% in the year 2015, compared with 18% in the year 2005. Storage is increasingly used in combination with variable renewables as battery costs decline, and solar PV plus storage has started to compete with gas peaking plants. However, bioenergy (including traditional biomass) remains the leading renewable energy source in the heating (buildings and industry) and transport sectors.