Last edited 27 Oct 2020

Making Mission Possible: report on achieving a zero-carbon economy by 2030

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Contents

[edit] Introduction

The Energy Transitions Commission (ETC) is a global coalition of leaders from across the energy landscape committed to achieving net-zero emissions. Its 2020 report Making Mission Possible – Delivering A Net-Zero Economy highlights actions required to achieve a zero-carbon economy by 2030, including priorities outlined by energy, industrial and financial sector leaders from around the world.

In the report, the ETC puts forward the idea that the world can - and must - achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century. It proposes that "zero must mean zero" in the long term, with no permanent (rather than transitional) reliance on negative emissions to balance continued large-scale emissions from the energy system and industry. The report also also suggests the steps needed to achieve that objective by 2030.

[edit] Clean electricity

Clean electricity would be the primary route to decarbonisation according to the report, which proposes that decreases in the cost of renewable energy could help make this goal achievable. The report argues that growth in electricity supply should come from zero-carbon sources. It also proposes that there is no need to build new coal-fired power capacity to support economic growth and rising living standards.

In economic terms, ETC makes the case that it is technically and economically possible to have a carbon-free economy at a total cost of less than 0.5% of global GDP by taking three steps:

  1. Using less energy while improving living standards in developing economies by achieving dramatic improvements in energy efficiency and shifting to a circular economy.
  2. Scaling up clean energy provision by building massive generation capacities of cheap clean power at a pace five to six times faster than at present, as well as expanding other zero-carbon energy sources such as hydrogen.
  3. Using clean energy across all sectors of the economy by electrifying many applications in buildings, transport and industry, and deploying new technologies and processes using hydrogen, sustainable biomass or carbon capture in sectors that cannot be electrified (such as heavy industry, long-distance shipping and aviation).

[edit] Setting priorities

The signatories of the report suggest that the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the unpreparedness of the global economy to systemic risks and that the unplanned increase in public spending being dedicated to stimulating economic recovery constitutes an opportunity to invest in more resilience.

The report outlines three critical priorities for the 2020s and offers practical actions that nations and non-state parties can commit to in the run up to the COP26 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in November 2021. These actions can help to put mid-century objectives within reach:

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The ETC's report is intended to allow all developed economies to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 at the latest, including China. All developing nations would be able to reach net-zero emissions by 2060 at the latest, but would require development finance to de-risk and attract private green investment.

The report is available at: https://www.energy-transitions.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Making-Mission-Possible-Full-Report.pdf

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