COP climate resilience insights

COP climate pledges global warming

COP climate pledges global warming

COP 21 report overview

The historic Paris Agreement on climate change sets the course for a fundamental transformation of the global economy over the next decades.
The Agreement’s overarching goal of limiting global average temperature rise to “well below 2°C” will entail profound changes in the global energy system.

4 Targets

Four targets on the path to increased ambition GHG emissions mitigation efforts coming out of COP21 can be divided into four distinct levels of ambition:

  • implementation of the NDCs, which cover the period through to 2025 or 2030 and have a 50% probability of limiting warming to about 2.7°C by 2100, with higher temperature increases thereafter if stronger action is not taken after 2030
  • Deeper emissions cuts that involve a near-term peaking of global energy-related emissions and are consistent with a 50% probability of limiting warming to 2°C by 2100, which has been extensively analyzed by the IEA in the ETP 2DS and the World Energy Outlook (WEO) 450 Scenario
  • The increased ambition, newly established in Article 2 of the 2015 Paris Agreement, which resets the global goal to “well below 2°C”
  • The Agreement’s call to “pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C”, which existing analyses, though scant, indicate will likely move forward by one to two decades the date by which carbon neutrality will have to be achieved, compared with 2°C scenarios, requiring further modeling and analysis
COP climate resilience insights

Energy has played a central role in supporting economic and social development worldwide. Let’s collaborate to ensure that it continues to do so during the transition to a low-emissions world.

COP goals and actions needed

Achieving the deep cuts in global carbon emissions that this vision requires is no small task given the enormous challenge of implementing – and eventually exceeding – current country climate pledges.

The publication below examines key sectors, technologies, and policy measures that will be central in this transition to a low-carbon energy system. It addresses the following questions:

  • What are the roles of coal and gas in meeting the stringent decarbonization requirements for the power sector consistent with IEA modeling of global climate goals?
    • Diminishing role for coal power under the 2DS
    • Further reducing the carbon intensity of coal-fired power plants
    • Policies to deter new unabated coal plant construction
  • What are moderate carbon prices accomplishing in the electricity sector, and how can they be helpful as part of a package of other policies?
    • Reversing the lock-in of emissions from existing coal plants: Policy options beyond carbon pricing
    • Reversing the lock-in of emissions from existing coal plants: Using carbon pricing
    • How carbon pricing can reverse lock-in by supporting new lower-carbon plants
  • Where are the opportunities for expanding renewables and energy efficiency, and what policies and regulatory frameworks are needed to boost these low-carbon energy sources?
    • Untapped potential and strong prospects for growth
    • Integration of variable renewables in existing electricity systems
    • Untapped potential of renewables in heat and transport
    • more effort needed to move from the 2DS to well below 2°C
  • How can state-owned companies, which produce a large share of global GHG emissions but are also major developers of clean energy, be encouraged to play a more effective role in the energy transition?
    • Managing demand through efficiency and structure
    • Energy efficiency and emissions reductions
    • An important contributor in the short-term Bridge Scenario

State-owned enterprises

state-owned enterprises (SOEs) are important to decarbonization efforts, in particular because of their strong presence in the energy sectors of many emerging economies, where future energy demand and energy infrastructure growth are expected to be strongest.

Because a relatively small number of SOEs worldwide are responsible for a significant share of global GHG emissions, opportunities for targeted leverage are great.

Further exploration of options available for governments to exert public shareholder influence over SOEs will enrich future dialogue on climate change mitigation. For traditional private sector businesses, recognizing that commercial and profit interests can converge with decarbonization efforts will help to drive voluntary actions and programs.

Ultimately, the impact and influence of complementary measures (internal economic instruments, disclosure standards, self-regulation, etc.) depend on the financial incentives for action – in other words, the “business case” for decarbonization.

Research needed

More research on improved specificity, meaningful incentives, proper monitoring, and suitability within the existing policy and regulatory mix could help increase the effectiveness of complementary measures.

Download the full publication


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