The latest edition of the, 30-year New Energy Outlook forecast produced by New York-based analyst Bloomberg has estimated the world is currently on track for a temperature rise of 3.3 degrees Celsius this century. There is still a ‘2C' route open, according to the report, but it would come with a $78-130 trillion price tag.
Numerous studies have attempted to quantify how much money would be required to mitigate the impacts of climate change in the absence of a clean energy transition.
Under the business-as-usual scenario envisaged by the report, solar and wind generation would supply 56% of the world's electricity by 2050 and, together with battery storage, would hog almost $12.1 trillion of the $15.1 trillion Bloomberg expects to be invested in new power capacity over the next three decades. The analyst expects an additional $14 trillion to be spent on grids during that time.
Path to 2C
The latest New Energy Outlook features a clean electricity and hydrogen-driven ‘climate scenario' path to less than 2C global heating but the report estimates it would require 100 PWh of electricity generation – with a third of it used for green hydrogen generation from renewables, using electrolysis. If the world plans to use the cheapest sources of electricity – solar and wind – that would require enough generation facilities to cover roughly the size of India, the report's authors stated.
Jon Moore, CEO of the Bloomberg New Energy Finance wing of the business intelligence company which produces the forecast, said the next ten years would be critical in determining the global temperature rise in prospect and called for faster deployment of solar and wind power and speedier take-up of electric vehicles (EVs).
The forecast was vague on the date when EVs are expected to reach price parity with conventional vehicles with a press release issued by BloombergNEF on Tuesday to publish the report mentioning only: “the years leading up to the mid-2020s.” That inflection point would help peak oil demand arrive in 2035 and thereafter fall, but only by an expected 0.7% annually, to revert to 2018 levels by mid century.
The report anticipates coal demand will peak in China by 2027 but in India only in 2030, with the heavily polluting fuel still supplying 12% of the world's electricity in 2050. The forecast also tacitly acknowledges the role natural gas will continue to play in the global energy system, with demand set to rise 0.5% per year to mid century, with its use in buildings rising 33% and for industry 23% by mid century.
The outlook did at least join the voices predicting emissions from fuel combustion peaked last year, and predicted carbon emissions from that source will decline 0.7% annually from 2027 on. The report added, the Covid-19-related fall in energy demand seen this year will remove 2.5 years' worth of energy-related emissions by mid century.
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