Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UN sustainable energy initiative could put world on a path to climate targets

25.02.2013
The new study in Nature Climate Change shows that reaching the 3 energy-related objectives proposed by the United Nations in their Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) initiative, launched in 2011, would reduce emissions of greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change and, in combination with other measures, could help keep global temperature rise from exceeding the internationally agreed target level of 2°C.

"Achievement of the 3 objectives would provide an important entry point into stringent climate protection," says Joeri Rogelj, ETH Zurich researcher and IIASA-affiliated scientist, who led the study. The study found that the short-term objectives, which aim for 2030, would help achieve long-term climate targets.

However, to ensure achievement of stringent climate objectives, SE4ALL would need to be complemented by other measures, the researchers say. The SE4All objectives include providing universal access to modern energy, doubling the share of renewable energy globally, and doubling the rate of improvement in energy efficiency—all by 2030. While the SE4All objectives do not explicitly address climate change, it is clear that sustainable energy is a prerequisite for reducing greenhouse gas emissions: 80% of human carbon dioxide emissions come from the global energy system, including transportation, buildings, industry, and electricity, heat, and fuel production.

"Doing energy right will promote the Millennium Development Goals, such as poverty eradication and social empowerment, and at the same time kick-start the transition to a lower-carbon economy," says IIASA researcher David McCollum, who also worked on the study. "But the UN's objectives must be complemented by a global agreement on controlling greenhouse gas emissions."

While the UN energy objectives are formulated as global goals, the researchers also note that regional and national actions will be vital to achieving them. IIASA Energy program leader Keywan Riahi and study co-author says, "The next step for this initiative is already underway, with a large number of national plans that underpin the global objectives."

The researchers carried out an analysis to determine how likely we would be to limit climate warming to target levels if each or all of the SE4All objectives were achieved. Using a broad range of scenarios, the researchers found that if all the objectives were met, the likelihood of keeping temperature rise below 2°C would be more than 66%.¬ If only the renewable energy goal is met, chances of keeping temperatures below 2°C would range from 40 to 90%, while achieving just the energy efficiency goal would improve the chances to between 60 and 90%. But the researchers warn that the latter result depends strongly on what economic growth is assumed in the future. The researchers note that the likelihood of reaching climate targets within the scenarios depended on a variety of other factors, including future energy demand growth, economic growth, and technological innovation.

The study also found that providing universal energy access by 2030 will not hinder long-term climate goals, thanks to the marked gains in energy efficiency that will result. "Sustainable development and poverty eradication can go hand in hand with mitigating climate risks," says Rogelj.

The new work also quantified the potential costs for reaching the SE4All objectives, which would amount to increasing energy investments between 0.1 and 0.7% of global GDP. The authors' estimates account for the substantial savings in energy use and reduced fossil energy investments that would come about through the promotion of more sustainable energy technologies and lifestyles.

Note to editors
The study used an analysis framework called Integrated Assessment Modeling (IAM), which combines economic, geophysical, biological, social, and engineering science to systematically analyze possible future developments in the human-earth system from a broad perspective. In this study, the researchers used IIASA's energy model MESSAGE along with the probabilistic climate model MAGICC. More than 500 detailed scenarios were developed, building upon the recently released Global Energy Assessment.

Reference

Rogelj, J., D.L. McCollum, and K. Riahi, 2013, "The UN’s ‘Sustainable Energy for All’ initiative is compatible with a warming limit of 2 °C," Nature Climate Change, DOI: 10.1038/NCLIMATE1806.

For more information please contact:

Joeri Rogelj
Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, ETH Zurich
Tel: +41 44 632 82 79
Email: joeri.rogelj@env.ethz.ch
Keywan Riahi
IIASA Energy Program Leader
Tel: +43(0) 2236 807 491
Mob: +43 676 83 807 491
Email: riahi@iiasa.ac.at
David McCollum
IIASA Research Scholar, Energy Program
Tel: +43(0) 2236 807 586
Email mccollum@iiasa.ac.at
Katherine Leitzell
IIASA Press Office
Tel: +43 2236 807 316
Mob: +43 676 83 807 316
leitzell@iiasa.ac.at
About IIASA:
IIASA is an international scientific institute that conducts research into the critical issues of global environmental, economic, technological, and social change that we face in the twenty-first century. Our findings provide valuable options to policy makers to shape the future of our changing world. IIASA is independent and funded by scientific institutions in Africa, the Americas, Asia, Oceania, and Europe. www.iiasa.ac.at

Katherine Leitzell | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.iiasa.ac.at

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New Study Will Help Find the Best Locations for Thermal Power Stations in Iceland

19.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Not of Divided Mind

19.01.2017 | Life Sciences

Molecule flash mob

19.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>