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World Energy Transitions Outlook: 1.5°C Pathway


The World Energy Transitions Outlook preview outlines a pathway for the world to achieve the Paris Agreement goals and halt the pace of climate change by transforming the global energy landscape. This preview presents options to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C and bring CO2 emissions closer to net zero by mid-century, offering high-level insights on technology choices, investment needs and the socio-economic contexts of achieving a sustainable, resilient and inclusive energy future.

Meeting CO2 reduction targets by 2050 will require a combination of: technology and innovation to advance the energy transition and improve carbon management; supportive and proactive policies; associated job creation and socio-economic improvements; and international co-operation to guarantee energy availability and access.

Among key findings:

  • Proven technologies for a net-zero energy system already largely exist today. Renewable power, green hydrogen and modern bioenergy will dominate the world of energy of the future.
  • A combination of technologies is needed to keep us on a 1.5°C climate pathway. These include increasingly efficient energy production to ensure economic growth; decarbonised power systems that are dominated by renewables; increased use of electricity in buildings, industry and transport to support decarbonisation; expanded production and use of green hydrogen, synthetic fuels and feedstocks; and targeted use of sustainably sourced biomass.
  • In anticipation of the coming energy transition, financial markets and investors are already directing capital away from fossil fuels and towards other energy technologies including renewables.
  • Energy transition investment will have to increase by 30% over planned investment to a total of USD 131 trillion between now and 2050, corresponding to USD 4.4 trillion on average every year.
  • National social and economic policies will play fundamental roles in delivering the energy transition at the speed required to restrict global warming to 1.5°C.

This preview identifies opportunities to support informed policy and decision making to establish a new global energy system. Following this preview and aligned with the UN High-Level Dialogue process, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) will release the full report which will provide a comprehensive vision and accompanying policy measures for the transition.


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