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The role of advanced demand-sector technologies and energy demand reduction in achieving ambitious carbon budgets

Abstract

Limiting cumulative carbon emissions to keep global temperature increase to well below 2°C (and as low as 1.5°C) is an extremely challenging task, requiring rapid reduction in the carbon intensity of all sectors of the economy and with limited leeway for residual emissions. Addressing residual emissions in ‘challenging-todecarbonise’ sectors such as the industrial and aviation sectors relies on the development and commercialization of innovative advanced technologies, currently still in their infancy. The aim of this study was to (a) explore the role of advanced technologies in achieving deep decarbonisation of the energy system and (b) provide technology- specific details of how rapid and deep carbon intensity reductions can be achieved in the energy demand sectors. This was done using TIAM-Grantham – a linear cost optimization model of the global energy system with a detailed representation of demand-side technologies. We find that the inclusion of advanced technologies in the demand sectors, together with energy demand reduction through behavioural changes, enables the model to achieve the rapid and deep decarbonisation of the energy system associated with limiting global warming to below 2°C whilst at the same time reduces reliance on negative emissions technologies by up to ∼18% compared to the same scenario with a standard set of technologies. Realising such advanced technologies at commercial scales, as well as achieving such significant reductions in energy demand, represents a major challenge for policy makers, businesses and civil society. There is an urgent need for continued R&D efforts in the demand sectors to ensure that advanced technologies become commercially available when we need them and to avoid the gamble of overreliance on negative emissions technologies to offset residual emissions.

Related subjects: Policy & Socio-Economics
Countries: United Kingdom
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2019-01-22
2021-06-15
http://instance.metastore.ingenta.com/content/66
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