The latest report "Global Energy and Climate Outlook 2018" by the JRC calculates that to limit temperature change to 1.5°C, global net greenhouse gases emissions would need to drop to net zero by 2065, and by 2080 for 2°C.
While this clearly would come with increased investment needs, the overall costs would be equivalent of less than one week of economic activity lost for a given year.
The economy would grow, decoupled from greenhouse gas emissions.
The Global Energy and Climate Outlook 2018analyses the global climate action needed to limit climate change to well below 2°C and pursue efforts to limit the temperature rise to 1.5°C, as put forward in the Paris Agreement.
The Outlook was officially launched during the Conference of the Parties (COP 24) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), in Katowice.
In order to achieve the ambitious transition to a low-greenhouse gas emissions economy that is compatible with these temperature targets, significant cuts in greenhouse gas emissions across countries and sectors are necessary.
Energy system transformation and beyond
According to the report, to limit temperature change to 2°C, the global energy system and energy consumption patterns would have to undergo a profound and accelerated transformation to reach global annual decarbonisation rates of 6.1% per year and 9.0% per year over 2015-2050 for 2°C and 1.5°C, respectively.
Key mitigation options involve expanding the use of renewables and an increasing role of electricity in the energy we consume.
More specifically, increased use of renewable energy sources would account for 27% of the emission reductions, non-CO2 abatement for 20%, improved energy efficiency for 17%, and electrification of final energy demand and land use both for 10%.
Striving to 1.5°C would require enhanced mitigation efforts in the 2020-2040 decades in particular.
Costs can be limited and decoupled economic growth will continue
JRC experts have assessed mitigation policies and measures to be adopted for all sectors and regions of the world economy.
The scenarios presented in the study show pathways to mitigate global warming to 2°C and lower by the end of the century – pathways that are technically possible and compatible with economic growth and broader sustainable development indicators, such as air quality, contributing to the UN's Sustainable Development Goals of climate action, clean energy, and good health.
While changes would come with increased investment needs, the overall costs to the economy would be limited (0.4% and 1.3% of global GDP in 2050 for reaching 2°C and 1.5°C, respectively, which is less than the equivalent of one week of economic activity lost for a given year).
Low-income regions maintain high annual economic growth rates in scenarios compatible with global warming below 2°C and 1.5°C, while high-income countries see only moderate impacts on growth.
Investments need to shift from greenhouse gas-intensive technologies towards renewables and demand-side energy-efficient infrastructure.
Key uncertainties reside in the potential of certain technologies to play a role in that effort, namely carbon capture and sequestration and large-scale biomass for energy, with potential side-effects on biodiversity.
Background - policy context
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Paris Agreement in 2015 put forward the goal to limit global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit the rise to 1.5°C.
In October 2018 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change presented a Special Report related to the 1.5°C objective.
The first global stocktake where UNFCCC parties would assess progress made is planned for 2023; updated nationally determined contributions are planned to be submitted by 2020.
This report describes the international context within which the contributions can be assessed.
In preparation for the UNFCCC process, the European Commission has just released a proposal for a long-term strategic vision for a prosperous, modern, competitive and climate neutral economy.
This will be followed by an EU-wide debate which should allow the EU to adopt and submit an ambitious strategy by early 2020 to the UNFCCC as requested under the Paris Agreement.
JRC at COP24
COP24 is the informal name for the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (2-14 December 2018).
The key objective of COP24 is to adopt the implementation guidelines of the Paris Agreement on climate change.
During the conference, side events in the EU Pavilion contribute to showcasing the EU’s progress in implementing actions to achieve the climate goals agreed in Paris.
The JRC provides scientific and technical advice for the development and implementation of EU policies.
JRC scientists and experts co-lead side events and engage in panel discussions to contribute to the scientific and technical discussions on climate action.
List of events with the JRC at COP24