The report ‘Thechnology, the climate saviour‘ analyses to what extent technology can reduce energy related CO2 emissions by lowering fossil fuel demand up to 2050. It addresses technologies for energy efficiency, electrification and renewables, and presents ING’s ‘Positive Tech Scenario’. Technology can reduce energy-related carbon emissions from 33 gigatons to 12 by 2050 (-64%) This is close to the emissions reduction targets of 2050, but the Paris Agreement climate 2030 targets are missed. It will take time for new technologies to be implemented, while in the meantime the global economy continues to grow. It does need effective policies to combat rebound effects.
ING’s Positive Tech Scenario allows for continued economic growth, absorbs increases in the global population and aspirational middle classes. These trends could increase energy-related emissions by 34 gigatons. Energy efficiency reduces emissions by 35 gigatons. Electrification and a shift towards renewables add another 20 gigatons.
Wind and solar main drivers
Solar and wind energy are the main drivers behind the shift in the power mix in ING’s Positive Tech Scenario. Solar and wind energy have seen rapid cost declines. As a result, installing solar and wind capacity is already cheaper today compared to building new coal and gas fired power plants in countries with favourable conditions, such as India, China, US, Germany and Australia. The power sector moves from around two-thirds of fossil fuels today to two-thirds of solar and wind energy by 2050. Including hydro, geothermal and biomass the share of renewables reaches 82%. The Positive Scenario assumes a stronger uptake of 60% in renewables by 2040 compared with the IEA Sustainable Development Scenario’s uptake assumption of 51%. It does not anticipate 100% renewables in 2050 and needs to be considered against the background of a 160% increase in total electricity demand. Wind and solar are intermittent energy sources that are too unpredictable to meet demand at all times. Breakthroughs in storage solutions need to be realised and implemented on a large scale. Photo ING