Journal Article

Halving Global CO2 Emissions by 2050: Technologies and Costs

| March 2021


This study provides a whole-systems simulation on how to halve global CO2 emissions by 2050, compared to 2010, with an emphasis on technologies and costs, in order to avoid a dangerous increase in the global mean surface temperature by end the of this century. There still remains uncertainty as to how much a low-carbon energy system costs compared to a high-carbon system. Integrated assessment models (IAMs) show a large range of costs of mitigation towards the 2°C target, with up to an order of magnitude difference between the highest and lowest cost, depending on a number of factors including model structure, technology availability and costs, and the degree of feedback with the wider macro-economy. A simpler analysis potentially serves to highlight where costs fall and to what degree. Here we show that the additional cost of a low-carbon energy system is less than 1% of global GDP more than a system resulting from low mitigation effort. The proposed approach aligns with some previous IAMs and other projections discussed in the paper, whilst also providing a clearer and more detailed view of the world. Achieving this system by 2050, with CO2 emissions of about 15GtCO2, depends heavily on decarbonisation of the electricity sector to around 100gCO2/kWh, as well as on maximising energy efficiency potential across all sectors. This scenario would require a major mitigation effort in all the assessed world regions. However, in order to keep the global mean surface temperature increase below 1.5°C, it would be necessary to achieve net-zero emission by 2050, requiring a much further mitigation effort.

  – Via International Energy Journal.

About This Journal Article

Halving Global CO2 Emissions by 2050: Technologies and Costs
For more information on this publication: Please contact Environment and Natural Resources
For Academic Citation:

Strapasson, Alexandre & Cockerill, Tim & Gambhir, Ajay & Hills, Thomas & Kalas, Nicole & Khor, Cheng & Napp, Tamaryn & Tong, Danlu & Woods, Jeremy & Shah, Nilay. (2021). Halving Global CO2 Emissions by 2050: Technologies and Costs. International Energy Journal. 21. 147-157.