The number of countries announcing pledges to achieve net-zero emissions over the coming decades continues to grow. But the pledges by governments to date – even if fully achieved – fall well short of what is required to bring global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions to net zero by 2050 and give the world an even chance of limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5 °C.
This special report is the world’s first comprehensive study of how to transition to a net zero energy system by 2050 while ensuring stable and affordable energy supplies, providing universal energy access, and enabling robust economic growth. It sets out a cost-effective and economically productive pathway, resulting in a clean, dynamic and resilient energy economy dominated by renewables like solar and wind instead of fossil fuels. The report also examines key uncertainties, such as the roles of bioenergy, carbon capture and behavioural changes in reaching net zero.
Bioenergy is a versatile renewable energy source that can be used in all sectors, and it can often make use of existing transmission and distribution systems and end-user equipment. But there are constraints on expanding the supply of bioenergy, and possible trade-offs with sustainable development goals, including avoiding conflicts at local level with other uses of land, notably for food production and biodiversity protection.
To navigate these risks, the Roadmap to Net Zero by 2050 combined for the first time the IEA’s global energy system modelling with the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)’s Global Biosphere Management Model to provide insights on bioenergy’s supply, land use and net emissions.