IEA: How will the overall energy system evolve from now to 2050?

How will the overall energy system evolve from now to 2050?
For the first time, the IEA releases interactive data and figures to highlight potential scenarios
This three-part interactive visualisation relies on the data and figures behind Energy Technology Perspectives 2012, the IEA’s flagship publication on energy technologies.

The infographics illustrate how the overall energy system will evolve from now to 2050.

- The Emissions Reduction visualisation allows you to quickly and easily see what impact countries, technologies and sectors may have on carbon dioxide emissions in the decades to come.

- The Energy Flows visualisation focuses on the transport, industry and buildings sectors, highlighting the different fuels (from oil to biofuels), sectors (from petrochemicals to residential) and end uses (from water heating to lighting) that will be affected in the years ahead.

- The transport visualisation lets you compare selected indicators – from annual roadway travel to roadway length – across countries and regions.

All three visualisations use the latest data from ETP 2012.

The 6°C Scenario (6DS) is largely an extension of current trends. By 2050, energy use almost doubles (compared with 2009) and total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions rise even more. In the absence of efforts to stabilise atmospheric concentrations of GHGs, average global temperature rise is projected to be at least 6°C in the long term.

The 4°C Scenario (4DS) takes into account recent pledges made by countries to limit emissions and step up efforts to improve energy efficiency. It serves as the primary benchmark in ETP 2012 when comparisons are made between scenarios. Projecting a long-term temperature rise of 4°C, the 4DS is already an ambitious scenario that requires significant changes in policy and technologies. Moreover, capping the temperature increase at 4°C requires significant additional cuts in emissions in the period after 2050.

The 2°C Scenario (2DS) is the focus of ETP 2012. The 2DS describes an energy system consistent with an emissions trajectory that recent climate science research indicates would give an 80% chance of limiting average global temperature increase to 2°C. It sets the target of cutting energy-related CO2 emissions by more than half in 2050 (compared with 2009) and ensuring that they continue to fall thereafter. Importantly, the 2DS acknowledges that transforming the energy sector is vital, but not the sole solution: the goal can only be achieved provided that CO2 and GHG emissions in non-energy sectors are also reduced.

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