Message to the P4G Summit: 100% clean power is the key to carbon neutrality

by | May 27, 2021

Last week, the International Energy Agency (IEA) made a landmark statement with their Net Zero by 2050 report. In its most thorough and authoritative analysis yet of the pathway to carbon neutrality, 100% clean power is set out as a clear prerequisite to global transition to net zero by 2050. 

This is turning into a watershed moment in the clean transition debate, as the IEA’s report was followed by the G7’s communique of 21st May 2021. The G7 nations committed to end the overseas financing of coal this year, but just fell short of committing to 100% clean power by 2035 as required by the IEA pathway. However, the IEA Net Zero report and recent G7 communique have set the marker on what’s needed for countries to decarbonize their power sectors.

what does IEA net zero mean for the power sector

The spotlight is now on the 2021 P4G Seoul Summit, taking place between May 30-31. The member countries of the P4G now have an opportunity to build upon this recent momentum, agree on affirmative policies to transition to 100% clean power and deliver on a coherent  vision for carbon neutrality. The IEA’s Net Zero milestones make clear what action is needed. 

Key takeaways:

  • P4G members can take confidence from the IEA Net Zero report that 100% clean power is crucial for carbon neutrality. It envisions the power sector turning from the biggest CO2-emitting sector in 2020 to the only 100% clean sector by 2040
  • The date for “power sector net zero” must be considerably earlier than the economy-wide “net zero”. The IEA anticipates that global electricity demand will rise by 50% by 2030 alone; clean power will be critical in decarbonizing other sectors.  
  • P4G countries need to significantly change the way they generate electricity. Fossil fuels currently dominate the power sectors of most P4G countries. The size of their coal fleet is also significant, especially in countries like  South Africa, South Korea, Indonesia and Vietnam 
  • A large fraction of coal capacity in P4G countries is sub-critical. Bespoke governmental climate financing would be needed to help finance investment to rapidly shift from coal in developing and emerging countries. 

For our full analysis of the implications of the IEA milestones for the P4G Summit, download our full briefing.

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