SLoCaT Review of World Energy Outlook Special Report on Energy and Climate Change

International Energy Agency‘s recently-published report “Energy and Climate Change – World Energy Outlook Special Report” provides a first assessment of the impact of Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), which represent committed national climate pledges including in the energy sector. The transport sector makes a significant contribution to emissions within the energy sector: a recent SLoCaT analysis reveals that the transport sector is the largest energy-consuming sector in 40% of countries worldwide, and in most remaining countries, transport is the second-largest energy-consuming sector. The transport sector now accounts for more than one-fifth (7.3 Gt) of global energy-related CO2 emissions (32 Gt), a significant rise from 3.3 Gt/year during the 1970s.

The IEA report highlights the following three Scenarios and their potential impact on energy consumption and CO2 emissions from the energy sector:

  • INDC Scenario – This Scenario considers INDCs submitted to the UNFCCC Secretariat by May 14, 2015, which represent countries accounting for about 34% of global energy-related emissions. In addition, it also includes likely forthcoming commitments by major economies like China and India.
  • Bridge Scenario – The Bridge Scenario considers policies and actions that may be necessary to deliver a peak in global energy-related emissions by 2020. IEA assumes that peaking of emissions can be achieved by currently proven technologies and policies, without changing the economic and development prospects of any region.
  • 450 Scenario – This Scenario considers policies and investments necessary to serve the internationally adopted goal to limit the rise in long-term average global temperature to 2 °C (with a likelihood of around 50%). This Scenario is more ambitious than the Bridge Scenario and it considers additional policies and investments.

SLoCaT Partnership has released a review note  which summarizes some of the key observations offered by IEA and their implications for the transport sector.

The note concludes that with INDCs and national energy policies and plans proposed so far, the world’s estimated remaining carbon budget consistent with a 50% chance of keeping the rise in temperature below 2 °C is consumed by around 2040 – eight months later than is projected in the absence of INDCs. Clearly, more sustained effort is required from countries to stay below the 2 °C climate limit.

In the transport sector, In the INDC scenario, energy consumption annual growth needs to be reduced by 50% of 1990-2013 growth. In the 450 scenario, IEA proposes to further reduce the transport energy consumption growth by 40% over 2013-2030. IEA estimates that majority of these reductions could be possible with existing technologies and with no additional cost to the society.

The transport sector grew more intensively when compared with other sectors over the last two decades. However, over 2013 to 2030, in OECD countries, the transport sector has the potential to provide the highest intensity of reductions. Clearly, all countries need to submit ambitious INDCs for COP21 and enhance priorities and investments on energy efficiency to peak global transport emissions by 2020. Thus, any attempt at limiting global average temperature rise to less than 2°C without significant mitigation contributions from the transport sector is infeasible.

For the detailed analysis of the review note, please download the full text.