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Climate Group strategy supports IEA report findings

26 July 2010
Climate Group strategy supports IEA report findings

Thurstan Wright and Matthew Gray, Policy Analysts at The Climate Group, discuss how The Climate Group’s updated strategy aligns with findings from the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) latest report.

We all know that global CO2 emissions need to fall dramatically over the next 40 years if dangerous climate change is to be avoided. In fact, the level needs to fall by more than half. But with global energy demand expected to double by 2050, how exactly do we achieve this?

The release of the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) annual Energy Technology Perspectives (2010) report provides the latest answers to this difficult question.

According to the IEA, the carbon intensity of global energy use will need to fall by 64% by 2050. This could be achieved by increasing the share of renewable energy to 48% of global power production (the current figure is around 19%).

The report also notes that by 2050 carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology will need to be capturing nearly 10 Giga tonnes (Gt) of CO2 from fossil-fuel power plants. This is roughly the equivalent of China’s current annual emissions.

Emissions from buildings will also need to be reduced by two-thirds, and almost 80% of light duty vehicle sales will need to be plug-in hybrid, electric or fuel-cell vehicles.

Whilst this transition away from high carbon and inefficient energy generation and consumption will be a challenge, it also represents an unprecedented economic opportunity.

The Climate Group’s work programme over the next three years reflects the IEA’s findings, relating to which technologies will be necessary to make the low carbon future a reality. Our work with corporate and government partners is designed to mainstream a suite of emerging low-carbon technologies within the decade. Examples of these programmes include:

Electric Vehicles (‘EV20’)

In the IEA’s electric vehicle roadmap, EVs are expected to account for over half of all new light duty vehicle sales and could account for 5% of total emissions reductions in 2050.

The Climate Group’s ‘EV20’ programme aims contribute to this reduction by speeding up the global deployment of plug-in electric vehicles. Chaired by Prince Albert II of Monaco, EV20 is building a core group of 20 ‘electric leaders’ – businesses and governments committed to transforming the market for electric vehicles by 2020 – and a wider network of like-minded partners.

Over the next three years the EV20 will focus on activities designed to speed up market transformation by 2020, with a particular focus on vehicle fleets, financial mechanisms and government policies.

The mission of EV20 is to secure an additional one million plug-in EVs on the road by 2015 and to ensure plug-in EVs exceed 20% of the world market by 2020. To find out more, click here.

Smart 2020

The IEA’s modelling on the contribution of so-called ‘smart’-power grids, suggests annual emissions savings of  up to 2.0 Gt of CO2 per year (equivalent to the combined annual emissions of Germany, the UK and France) by 2050. * The Climate Group’s Smart 2020 report suggested a saving of 2.1 Gt of CO2 per year by 2020.

Our ‘Smart 2020’ programme brings cities and businesses together to demonstrate how smart information and communication technologies (ICT) can increase efficiencies and reduce carbon emissions in urban environments.

By using network connectivity for communication, collaboration, and urban planning, our Smart 2020 programme aims to help cities improve utility service delivery, traffic management, and public transport systems. To find out more, see

Carbon Capture and Storage

According to the IEA’s CCS roadmap, CCS will need to contribute one-fifth of the necessary emissions reductions to achieve greenhouse-gas stabilization. To meet this goal by 2020, the world will need 100 industrial-scale CCS projects to be in operation and to be on track, to deliver 20% (3,400 plants) of the CO2 emissions reductions required by 2050 from CCS. These plants are needed in both OECD and Non-OECD countries. The Climate Group’s CCS programme is working to accelerate the construction of five of these CCS plants in Australia, China, India, the EU and USA by 2014.

We have adopted a two pronged approach:

  • Working with CCS project proponents in the key countries to address barriers and promote knowledge sharing among potential CCS projects to these projects forward.
  • Working with diverse stakeholders to undertake research and analysis on the industry wide challenges facing CCS.

To fulfil this objective we will use both knowledge sharing and external communication as delivery vehicles. The overall approach will see a series of reports and seminars addressing the industry-wide challenges that the program tackles; a series of events and interventions for the individual projects associated with the programme; and the consolidation of a body of information and knowledge that accelerates the construction of CCS projects. To find out more, click here.

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