Staying below 1.5°C requires massive investment in clean energy, but also saves $12 trillion. (€11.3 trillion) in fuel spending and creates more jobs than are lost, concluded the International Energy Agency in its Net Zero Pathway report published Tuesday September 26.
To be on track, fossil fuels must decline by 25% by 2030, renewable energy must triple, energy efficiency must double, and methane emissions from fossil fuel operations must decrease by 75%.
“There are legitimate reasons to hope. A clean energy economy is emerging,” said Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the IEA. “The path to 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming is narrowing, but dramatic growth in clean energy keeps the goal open. »
Achieving this will cost €4.5 trillion per year during the peak investment years (between 2036 and 2040), then falling to more than half that amount by 2050.
At the same time, the fuel economy advantage increases over time. While clean technologies like solar and wind power – especially offshore – needed to reach net zero emissions by 2050 require significant upfront investment, once installed they cost next to nothing to operate.
Comparing the future cumulative cost of fuel and green investments under the state’s current policy scenario and the net zero emissions scenario that involves higher green investments, the IEA calculated that cumulative fuel savings would exceed 11 trillion euros, thus reducing the overall cost of the transition for later. generations.
The savings figure would be even higher if the health benefits associated with cleaner air and the prevention of extreme droughts and floods were also included in the calculation, the IEA concludes.
The 1.5 degree trajectory also implies that the availability of green technology jobs will increase “much faster” than fossil fuel jobs disappear.
According to the report, around 65 million people are employed in “energy-related sectors,” half of which are already focused on clean energy,” notes the IEA.
If countries commit to doing what is necessary to keep warming below 1.5 degrees, an additional 30 million clean energy jobs will be created by 2030, while just 13 million jobs in fossil fuels will be lost. This means that for every job lost, more than two new jobs are created.
Electrification is the way forward
Since the release of the IEA’s last (and first) net zero report in 2021, growth in solar power and electric vehicle sales has surged and is now in line with the IEA’s net zero trajectory.
Growth in heat pumps is also increasing, but is expected to double by 2030. Wind energy deployment is currently “far behind” and “policy support is clearly needed,” the IEA concludes.
The report notes that almost all clean technology deployment is happening in rich countries and China, which make up less than 40% of the world’s population, which the IEA says will need to change to keep the goal of 1.5 degrees Celsius in sight.
Above all, the IEA report specifies that the green transition is above all a process of electrification.
More than 70 percent of the green transition can be achieved through the electrification of fossil fuel combustion through wind and solar power (25 percent), the electrification of transport and heating (20 percent), and energy efficiency and behavioral changes (24 percent), such as replacing cars with electric vehicles. bicycles and planes with trains.
“To bring about these changes, issues such as the high cost of train travel need to be addressed,” the IEA concludes.
Reduced role of hydrogen
Due to the increased focus on electrification, the report slightly reduced the importance of hydrogen for the transition.
Gas lobbyists like Eurogas, the European heating industry and big carmakers like BMW have pushed the EU towards a maximalist adoption of low-emission hydrogen for use as a fuel for cars and public transport, the residential heating and domestic cooking.
On Tuesday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen touted the use of hydrogen buses in Prague, produced by Czech carmaker Škoda, and financed in part by 1.6 billion euros from the European Fund for a just transition.
However, none of these use cases are mentioned in the IEA’s net zero hydrogen pathway.