A low energy demand scenario for meeting the 1.5 °c target and sustainable development goals without negative emission technologies

Arnulf Grubler*, Charlie Wilson, Nuno Bento, Benigna Boza-Kiss, Volker Krey, David L. McCollum, Narasimha D. Rao, Keywan Riahi, Joeri Rogelj, Simon De Stercke, Jonathan Cullen, Stefan Frank, Oliver Fricko, Fei Guo, Matt Gidden, Petr Havlík, Daniel Huppmann, Gregor Kiesewetter, Peter Rafaj, Wolfgang SchoeppHugo Valin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Scenarios that limit global warming to 1.5 °C describe major transformations in energy supply and ever-rising energy demand. Here, we provide a contrasting perspective by developing a narrative of future change based on observable trends that results in low energy demand. We describe and quantify changes in activity levels and energy intensity in the global North and global South for all major energy services. We project that global final energy demand by 2050 reduces to 245 EJ, around 40% lower than today, despite rises in population, income and activity. Using an integrated assessment modelling framework, we show how changes in the quantity and type of energy services drive structural change in intermediate and upstream supply sectors (energy and land use). Down-sizing the global energy system dramatically improves the feasibility of a low-carbon supply-side transformation. Our scenario meets the 1.5 °C climate target as well as many sustainable development goals, without relying on negative emission technologies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)515-527
Number of pages13
JournalNature Energy
Volume3
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'A low energy demand scenario for meeting the 1.5 °c target and sustainable development goals without negative emission technologies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this