Oct 11, 2023 - Energy & Environment

World "less likely than ever" to meet Paris Agreement goal: new analysis

Illustration of the earth as an island in the middle of the ocean

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

New analysis finds that holding temperature rise to 1.5°C above preindustrial levels — the Paris Agreement's stretch goal — is "less likely than ever" despite rapid low-emissions energy expansion.

Why it matters: A long-term outlook issued by risk management firm DNV is among a suite of reports (both out currently and upcoming) that help frame COP28 discussions and beyond.

The big picture: It explores how rapid deployment of renewables and other climate-friendly tech is greatly slowing fossil fuel growth, preventing some of the worst future climate outcomes.

  • But while coal has leveled off, clean sources have yet to reverse overall fossil growth — let alone start shoving emissions downward fast enough to keep the 1.5°C north star in view.
  • "Globally, the energy transition has not started, if, by transition, we mean that clean energy replaces fossil energy in absolute terms," DNV CEO Remi Eriksen said in a statement.

State of play: DNV sees global energy-related emissions peaking in 2024, but falling too slowly to be Paris friendly, with a 46% cut at midcentury.

  • Geopolitical risks — notably Russia's attack on Ukraine — have boosted focus on energy security and local supplies.
  • "This trend is favouring renewables and nuclear energy in all regions and coal in some regions," the report states.

Threat level: DNV's "most likely" forecast sees temperature rise of 2.2°C by 2100.

  • That's far below the catastrophic levels that would be in store, absent steep zero-carbon energy growth.
  • But it's still a recipe for intensifying heat waves, storms and other major harms.

The bottom line: Projecting decades ahead is fraught with uncertainty, but even foggy outlooks beat flying blind.

Read DNV's full report

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