The “carbon budget” to keep global warming below 2 Degrees Celsius will run out in under 20 years, IRENA says in its 2018 report

April 2018: Keeping the global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius (°C) is technically feasible. It would also be more economically, socially and environmentally beneficial than the path resulting from current plans and policies, known in the IRENA (International Renewable Energy Agency) report as the Reference Case. However, the global energy system must undergo a profound transformation, replacing the present system that is largely based on fossil fuels.

The total share of renewable energy must rise from around 18% of total final energy consumption (in 2015) to around two-thirds by 2050. Over the same period, the share of renewables in the power sector would increase from around one-quarter to 85%, mostly through growth in solar and wind power generation. The energy intensity of the global economy will have to fall by about two-thirds, lowering energy demand in 2050 to slightly less than 2015 levels. This is achievable, despite significant population and economic growth, by substantially improving energy efficiency, the report finds. 

The analysis is based on IRENA’s global roadmap for scaling up renewables, known as REmap. IRENA’s report identifies six focus areas where policy and decision makers need to act. To learn more, download Global Energy Transformation: A Roadmap to 2050 .