COVID-19 impacts on energy demand can help reduce long-term mitigation challenge
- Type of publication:Article Preprint
- Date of publication:January 2021
- Author/s:Jarmo S. Kikstra, Adriano Vinca, Francesco Lovat, Benigna Boza-Kiss, Bas van Ruijven, Charlie Wilson, Joeri Rogelj, Behnam Zakeri, Oliver Fricko, Keywan Riahi
- Related Project:ENGAGE
The COVID-19 pandemic caused radical temporary breaks with past energy use trends. However, how a post-pandemic recovery will impact the longer-term energy transition is unclear. Here, we present a set of global COVID-19 shock-and-recovery scenarios that systematically explore the demand-side effect on final energy and GHG emissions. Our pathways project final energy demand reductions of 12 to 40 EJ/yr by 2025 and cumulative CO2 emissions reductions by 2030 of 28 to 53 GtCO2, depending on the depth and duration of the economic downturn and demand-side changes. Recovering from the pandemic with low energy demand practices – embedded in new patterns of travel, work, consumption, and production – reduces climate mitigation challenges. A low energy demand recovery reduces carbon prices for a 1.5°C consistent pathway by 19%, lowers energy supply investments until 2030 by 2.1 trillion USD, and lessens pressure on the upscaling of renewable energy technologies.