Geneva, May 23, 2012 – A new publication released today by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) outlines how the 30 per cent increase in global energy demand forecasted for 2050 can be met sustainably. The Energy Mix: Low-Carbon Pathways to 2050 explores the challenges and dilemmas of meeting this demand at the same time as halving 2005 GHG emissions levels.
Thierry Berthoud, Managing Director Energy & Climate, WBCSD said: “Substantial changes to the global energy system need to be made as a matter of urgency. In this new report we identify challenges that imply a radical departure from historical energy pathways. They require government policy intervention and public support at a level not seen in the past, in order to unleash the market forces needed to deploy massively low-carbon solutions. A key factor setting The Energy Mix apart is that it was put together by a task force comprising international businesses from different geographies and sectors.”
The Energy Mix: Low-Carbon Pathways to 2050 highlights three overarching issues that urgently need to be addressed in order to set a course towards establishing a sustainable energy mix.
The first is the significant risk of lock-in to the GHG emissions trajectory, due to high capital costs and the longevity of energy assets. This creates a barrier to change and, unless it is addressed now, will reduce the possibility of halving emissions by 2050.
A clear, unambiguous and well structured energy policy framework is required in all countries. It has to be effective across different economies and sectors in order to shift the energy mix and deliver emission reductions faster than dictated by historical energy trends.
Finally the role of carbon pricing is critical. A carbon price is one of the most powerful mechanisms available to reduce greenhouse gas emissions within an energy policy framework. Research shows that in the absence of technology breakthroughs in the longer term, a global carbon price needs to be in the range of US$100 –200 per ton of CO₂to have a substantial impact.
The Energy Mix: Low-Carbon Pathways to 2050was launched at the Bonn Climate Change Conference 2012. The annual event is attended by business leaders and senior country delegates from the US, France and Qatar.