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Electrification not enough to meet net zero target, DNV reports

Published by , Senior Editor
World Pipelines,

A new forecast of the energy transition from DNV has warned that even if all electricity was ‘green’ from this day forward, the world will still fall a long way short of achieving the 2050 net zero emissions ambitions of the COP21 Paris Agreement.

Electrification not enough to meet net zero target, DNV reports

DNV’s Energy Transition Outlook (ETO), now in its fifth year and launched two months before COP26 takes place in Glasgow, provides an independent forecast of developments in the global energy system to 2050.

The 2021 report highlights the global pandemic as a “lost opportunity” for speeding up the energy transition, as COVID-19 recovery packages have largely focused on protecting rather than transforming existing industries.

Electrification is on course to double in size within a generation and renewables are already the most competitive source of new power. However, DNV’s forecast shows global emissions will reduce only 9% by 2030, with the 1.5°C carbon budget agreed by global economies emptied by then.

The COP21 Paris Agreement was intended to keep global warming to “well below 2°C” and strive to limit its increase to 1.5°C. DNV has been consistent in forecasting a rapid transition to a decarbonised energy system by mid-century.

As rapid as that transition is, DNV’s forecast is that despite every effort being made, it remains definitively not fast enough for the world to achieve the ambitions of the Paris Agreement and warns the planet will most likely reach global warming of 2.3°C by end of the century.

Remi Eriksen, CEO of DNV, said: “We’ve seen governments around the world take extraordinary steps to manage the effects of the pandemic and stimulate a recovery. However, I am deeply concerned about what it will take for governments to apply the resolution and urgency they have shown in the face of the pandemic to our climate. We must now see the same sense of urgency to avoid a climate catastrophe.

“Many of the pandemic recovery packages have largely focused on protecting, rather than transforming, existing industries. A lot of ‘building back’ as opposed to ‘building better’ and although this is a lost opportunity, it is not the last we have for transitioning faster to a deeply decarbonised energy system.”

Energy efficiency remains the biggest opportunity to tackling climate change as the world drifts further away from achieving Paris. Securing significant improvement in this vital area is viewed as the most significant lever for the transition – achieving greater efficiency is the reason why global energy demand will level off, even as the global population and economy grows.

Reductions in the use of fossil fuels have been remarkably quick. However, these sources, especially gas, will still constitute 50% of the global energy mix by 2050 – making the need to invest in and scale hydrogen, and carbon capture and storage all the more important. Oil demand looks set to halve, with coal use reduced to a third by mid-century.

ETO 2021 also reveals that while 69% of grid-connected power will be generated by wind and solar in 2050, and indirect electrification (hydrogen and e-fuels) and biofuels remain critical, none of these sources are scaling rapidly enough.

Hydrogen is the energy carrier that holds the highest potential to tackle hard to abate emissions. However, our forecast indicates hydrogen only starting to scale from the mid-2030s and, even then, only building to 5% of the energy mix by 2050.

“Extraordinary action will be needed to bring the hydrogen economy into full force earlier - but these are extraordinary times. The window to avoid catastrophic climate change is closing soon, and the costs of not doing so unimaginable,” said DNV’s CEO Remi Eriksen.

DNV is the independent expert in risk management and quality assurance, operating in more than 100 countries. Through its broad experience and deep expertise DNV advances safety and sustainable performance, sets industry benchmarks, and inspires and invents solutions.?

Whether assessing a new ship design, optimizing the performance of a wind farm, analysing sensor data from a gas pipeline or certifying a food company’s supply chain, DNV enables its customers and their stakeholders to manage technological and regulatory complexity with confidence.

Driven by its purpose, to safeguard life, property, and the environment, DNV helps tackle the challenges and global transformations facing its customers and the world today and is a trusted voice for many of the world’s most successful and forward-thinking companies.

DNV provides assurance to the entire energy value chain through its advisory, monitoring, verification, and certification services. As the world's leading resource of independent energy experts and technical advisors, the assurance provider helps industries and governments to navigate the many complex, interrelated transitions taking place globally and regionally, in the energy industry. DNV is committed to realising the goals of the Paris Agreement, and supports customers to transition faster to a deeply decarbonised energy system.



Read the latest issue of World Pipelines magazine for pipeline news, project stories, industry insight and technical articles.

World Pipelines’ August 2021 issue

The August issue of World Pipelines includes project updates for Nord Stream 2 and the OPAL gas pipeline. Also featured: corporate oil and gas specialist Rosalie Chadwick, new Global Head of Oil and Gas at law firm Pinsent Masons discusses her new role and how the firm can help oil and gas companies with their energy transition strategies. LCS Cable Cranes describes cable crane systems for challenging terrain. LK2, Italy, details how the company’s fully automated system for applying heat shrinkable sleeve technologies has been utilised on a project in the Czech Republic. And John van Pol, CEO, INGU, presents inline inspection as a service: an operating systems approach to pipeline integrity. PLUS our annual overview of oil and gas pipeline contractors working all over the world.

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