Taking action to stay within 1.5ºC

Transforming the global energy system

to combat climate change

Executive summary

The climate challenge

The defining challenge of our time

  • Global temperatures have risen 1.1°C on average since pre-industrial times
  • 18 of the 19 warmest years on record have occurred since 2000

Higher temperatures put pressure on our global ecosystems

  • Higher temperatures could trigger several irreversible tipping points, such as melting of ice caps and disrupting ocean circulation
  • The IPCC stresses the importance of keeping global temperature increases within 1.5°C to limit the negative consequences of climate change 


Transforming the global energy system 

We need to halve global emissions by 2030

  • Emissions need to decrease from the current approx. 54 gigatonnes to 26 gigatonnes in 2030
  •  73% of global emissions come from energy, mainly due to fossil fuel combustion

The need for increased energy efficiency

  • Global use of energy is projected to increase by almost 25% towards 2050
  • A 1.5°C scenario requires the global use of energy to be kept at current levels through increased energy efficiency

Green energy must replace fossil fuels in our global energy system

  • 80% of all energy consumed today comes from fossil fuels, while only 11% is green. The rest is from nuclear power and traditional biomass
  • The share of green energy needs to reach at least 60% of the global energy supply by 2050 to stay within 1.5°C

Transforming the global energy system

  • Only a combination of moving from fossil fuels to renewable energy and improved energy efficiency can keep us on a 1.5°C trajectory


The role of the power sector

The power sector is key to decarbonising energy

  • There is a need to accelerate electrification, green power build-out, and fossil fuel phase-out

Green electrification is needed to phase out fossil fuels

  • Energy-consuming sectors are dominated by fossil fuels and have much more room for green electrification
  • Electricity’s share of overall energy use should increase from 20% today to 50% in 2050 to stay within 1.5°C

Significant decarbonisation potential across sectors

  • The power sector will play a key role in decarbonising transportation, industry and buildings
  • Non-electric solutions, such as improved material and energy efficiency, are also needed to reduce emissions across sectors

Accelerating the phase-out of fossil fuels, especially coal

  • Coal is responsible for 72% of global emissions from the power sector
  • Coal needs to be phased-out three times faster than the projected rate of retirement

Speeding up the build-out of green power

  • 26% of global power production comes from green energy
  • This share needs to exceed 77% in 2050 to stay on a 1.5°C path
  • Towards 2030, the build-out of green power should be doubled compared to current projections 


Key question about green power

What are the technologies in the future green energy system? 

  • We already know the solutions needed to transform from fossil fuels to green energy, such as wind and solar power

Is green power too expensive?

  • Wind and solar power are cheaper than fossil-based power in most parts of the world

How can economies of scale reduce costs?

  • Clear and ambitious political targets allow for industry investments, innovation, and scale-up, which reduces the cost of green technologies
  • The cost journeys of solar, onshore, and offshore wind power are strong examples of economies of scale

How do we ensure a reliable power system with variable green power?

  • There is a large potential for countries to establish more wind and solar power while maintaining a high security of supply
  •  Mature and commercially viable solutions already exist to integrate a still higher share of variable green power
  •  Some solutions still need to reach commercial scale to help ensure reliability when countries integrate very high shares of variable green power


Benefits of going green

A greener, healthier, and more prosperous world

  • Saving 4 million lives a year due to cleaner air
  • Helping to deliver electricity to close to one billion people who do not currently have access to power
  • Improving energy independence for more people and countries
  • Delivering sustainable growth across the world
  • Creating millions of new jobs

Increasing the share of green energy is necessary to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals

  • More green energy will help combat climate change, preserve our ecosystems, and create more livable cities, which are among the benefits related to the Global Goals


Next Steps

Who can help to speed up green action and how?

  •  Different actors can help create systemic change in the energy system to stay within 1.5°C
  •  Energy companies can transform their production from fossil fuel-based energy to renewable energy
  •  Policymakers can make decarbonisation plans aligned with the 1.5°C target
  •  Businesses can buy green power and cut emissions to what is required to keep global warming within 1.5°C
  •  Investors can ask companies to reduce their emissions in line with what is required by science
  •  Individuals can demand policies that help keep global warming below 1.5°C and buy sustainable products from green companies

The way forward

  •  We know the solutions to limit global warming to 1.5°C
  •  Many are cost-effective and others can be made so with the right public policy approach
  •  What is needed now is to speed up the deployment of green technologies at scale
  •  There is a business rationale for taking climate action, let alone the strong moral obligations towards future generations


Ørsted´s Transformation

Our experience in transitioning from fossil fuels to renewable energy

  • Ørsted has reduced its emissions by 83% since 2006 and will be essentially carbon neutral by 2025


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 The climate challenge


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