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IEA’s Net Zero Emissions (NZE) Roadmap

Context:

The recently released International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Net Zero Emissions (NZE) Roadmap aims to provide a pathway to bridge the current gap between rhetoric and reality in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the energy and industry sectors.

Relevance:

GS-III: Environment and Ecology (Environmental Pollution & Degradation, Important International Institutions)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the International Energy Agency (IES)
  2. What is Net zero emissions?
  3. Highlights of IEA’s Net Zero Emissions (NZE) Roadmap
  4. Aims/Targets of the Net Zero Emissions (NZE) Roadmap

About the International Energy Agency (IES)

  • The International Energy Agency (IEA) is an autonomous Intergovernmental Organisation established in 1974 in Paris, France.
  • IEA mainly focuses on its energy policies which include economic development, energy security and environmental protection. These policies are also known as the 3 E’s of IEA.
  • India became an Associate member of IEA in March 2017 but it was in engagement with IEA long before its association with the organization.
  • The World Energy Outlook Report is released by the IEA annually, and recently, it even released the India Energy Outlook 2021 Report.
  • IEA Clean Coal Centre is dedicated to providing independent information and analysis on how coal can become a cleaner source of energy, compatible with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

What is Net zero emissions?

  • ‘Net zero emissions’ refers to achieving an overall balance between greenhouse gas emissions produced and greenhouse gas emissions taken out of the atmosphere.
  • To achieve this:
  • Human-caused emissions (like those from fossil-fueled vehicles and factories) should be reduced as close to zero as possible.
  • Any remaining Greenhouse gasses GHGs should be balanced with an equivalent amount of carbon removal, for example by restoring forests.
  • In scenarios that limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, carbon dioxide (CO2) reaches net-zero on average by 2050. Total GHG emissions reach net-zero between 2063 and 2068.

Highlights of IEA’s Net Zero Emissions (NZE) Roadmap

  • Climate pledges by governments till date even if fully achieved would fall well short of what is required to bring global energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to net zero by 2050 and give the world an even chance of limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5 °C.
  • The roadmap aims to examine the impacts of announced NZE pledges and what they might mean for the energy sector and to develop a new energy-sector pathway towards achieving NZE globally by 2050.
  • The roadmap also aims to set out key policy recommendations for governments to act upon in the near-term, and a long-term agenda for change to achieve net-zero goals, including with a view to reaching other Sustainable Development Goals.
  • It is supposed to provide a pathway to bridge the current gap between rhetoric and reality in reducing GreenHouse Gas (GHG) emissions from the energy and industry sectors.

Principles according to the roadmap

  • The roadmap calls for following the principle of Technology neutrality, with adoption driven by costs, technological readiness, country and market conditions and trade-offs with wider societal goals. Technology Neutrality is generally described as the freedom of individuals and organizations to choose the most appropriate and suitable technology to their needs and requirements for development, acquisition, use or commercialisation, without dependencies on knowledge involved as information or data.
  • The roadmap also calls for following the principle of Universal international cooperation, in which all countries contribute to net zero, with an eye to a ‘just transition’ and where advanced economies lead.
  • The roadmap also calls for Minimizing Volatility – an orderly transition that seeks to minimise stranded assets where possible, while ensuring energy security and minimising volatility in energy markets.

Aims/Targets of the Net Zero Emissions (NZE) Roadmap

  • More than 400 milestones to guide the global journey to net zero by 2050 according to the NZE roadmap include:
  • No investment in new fossil fuel supply projects, and no further final investment decisions for new unabated coal plants.
  • No sales of new internal combustion engine passenger cars by 2035.
  • The global electricity sector should reach net-zero emissions by 2040.
  • It calls for annual additions of solar power to reach 630 gigawatts by 2030, and those of wind power to reach 390 gigawatts.
  • It suggests 714% more renewables, 104% more nuclear, 93% less coal and 85% less natural gas for global electricity generation towards 2050.

-Source: Down to Earth Magazine

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September 2022
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