Logo of the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency
To the main menuTo the main content

Early action on Paris Agreement allows for more time to change energy systems

Article | 24-07-2017

The IMAGE integrated assessment model was used to develop a set of scenarios to evaluate the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) submitted by Parties under the Paris Agreement. The scenarios project emissions and energy system changes under (i) current policies, (ii) implementation of the NDCs, and (iii) various trajectories to a radiative forcing level of 2.8 W/m2 in 2100, which gives a probability of about two thirds to limit warming to below 2 °C.

The scenarios show that a cost-optimal pathway from 2020 onwards towards 2.8 W/m2 leads to a global greenhouse gas emission level of 38 gigatonne CO2 equivalent (GtCO2eq) by 2030, equal to a reduction of 20% compared to the 2010 level. The NDCs are projected to lead to 2030 emission levels of 50 GtCO2eq, which is still an increase compared to the 2010 level.

A scenario that achieves the 2.8 W/m2 forcing level in 2100 from the 2030 NDC level requires more rapid transitions after 2030 to meet the forcing target. It shows an annual reduction rate in greenhouse gas emissions of 4.7% between 2030 and 2050, rapidly phasing out unabated coal-fired power plant capacity, more rapid scale-up of low-carbon energy, and higher mitigation costs. A bridge scenario shows that enhancing the ambition level of NDCs before 2030 allows for a smoother energy system transition, with average annual emission reduction rates of 4.5% between 2030 and 2050, and more time to phase out coal capacity.

Author(s)Heleen L. van Soest; Harmen Sytze de Boer; Mark Roelfsema; Michel G.J. den Elzen; Annemiek Admiraal; Detlef P. van Vuuren; Andries F. Hof; Maarten van den Berg; Mathijs J.H.M. Harmsen; David E.H.J. Gernaat; Nicklas Forsell
Publication date24-07-2017
PublicationClimatic Change