Achieving global climate goals by 2050: Pathways to a 1.5° C future

This is the second edition of the ClimateWorks Global Intelligence report, “Achieving Global Climate Goals by 2050: Actionable Opportunities for This Decade.” The findings in this report serve as a resource for climate funders and others interested in climate change mitigation to identify priorities for emissions reductions. The report outlines numerous intervention areas within electricity, fuel supply, transport, buildings, industry, land use, agriculture, and technological carbon dioxide removal across 10 global geographies, all focused on achieving net-zero CO2 emissions by 2050.

These priorities are designed through a scenario exercise using a modeling tool that captures the nuanced linkages and trade-offs inherent in climate change mitigation strategies. The modeling results illustrate pathways toward achieving the necessary emissions reductions for a 1.5° C compatible pathway, with limited temperature overshoot (a temporary rise in temperature above the target of 1.5° C between now and 2100). These results are intended to guide the scale and impact of possible reductions. Ultimately, intervention strategies must be designed to realize these emissions reductions while carefully evaluating other considerations such as effects on communities, human health, and social and economic factors. Additional work and research are required to examine these intersections, helping to mobilize the scale of change needed to achieve challenging emissions reductions.

In this year’s report, we introduce an Ensemble of scenarios that considers a balanced approach to achieving net-zero carbon dioxide emissions by 2050. These scenarios include factors related to technology diffusion, efficiency and productivity measures, potential changes in human behavior and lifestyle, the use of zero-emissions alternative energy sources, and the interaction of these factors with land systems. The Ensemble scenarios focus on key groupings of modeling parameters, allowing for an informed discussion on a wider range of possible outcomes across technologies, sectors, and geographies (see Figure 2 for details). Within the Ensemble, we identify a Central, anchoring scenario for comparison (see Figure 1). This Central scenario was informed by interactions with philanthropic organizations, highlighting the need to assess pathway co-benefits, the role of technology, sustainability, and lifestyle contributions. This new framework of comparing the Ensemble and Central scenarios reveals additional nuances, linkages, and trade-offs inherent to any climate change mitigation strategy.


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