The world must immediately stop investing in new oil and gas projects in order to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, the International Energy Agency said in a new report.
The Paris-based forecasting group said the globe only has a “narrow” opportunity to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, a target that scientists say must be met in order to avoid the worst consequences of global warming.
The new report underscores the huge challenges facing the Biden administration, which has promised aggressive action this decade to cut U.S. emissions in half by 2030, a level necessary to put the country on track to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
Net-zero means countries would stop adding any new emissions to the atmosphere.
The United States and other large countries that have made net-zero commitments account for around 70% of global carbon emissions, but those pledges are nowhere near enough for the world to hold global warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius, the goal of the Paris Agreement.
“Moving the world onto that pathway requires strong and credible policy actions from governments, underpinned by much greater international cooperation,” said IEA Director Fatih Birol, who said the goal remains “achievable” if it follows a path laid out by his agency.
Here are some actions the world must take to keep pace, the IEA said:
- The world’s least efficient coal plants would need to be phased out by 2030, and any remaining plants in use by 2040 would have to be equipped with carbon capture technology.
- No new oil and natural gas fields can be approved for development.
- Automakers could not sell new gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035, while electric vehicles would have to increase from around 5% of global car sales to more than 60% by 2030.
- Across the economy, fossil fuels supply almost four-fifths of total energy supply today, but that would have to fall to just over one-fifth by 2050.