Raising the ambition level of INDCs allows for a smoother energy transition

This note presents preliminary calculations on the implications of the INDCs for the long-term international climate goal of keeping global temperature increase below 2 °C, compared to pre-industrial levels.

Full decarbonisation of the power sector needed before 2050

If the ambition level of the INDCs are not raised, greenhouse gases need to be reduced very rapidly from 54 GtCO2eq in 2030 to 21 GtCO2eq by 2050. This implies a fully decarbonised power sector globally before 2050. This could be possible with early retirement of practically all existing coal-fired power plants over a period of just five years. Preliminary model calculations show that raising the ambition level of INDCs allows for more time to achieve this.

The calculations also show a rapid increase in the share of renewable energy in power supply. Globally, about three-quarters of the power is generated by solar PV, wind, hydropower, and nuclear energy by 2050. The remainder is more or less equally divided among fossil fuels and bioenergy, both with carbon capture and storage (CCS). This means that, from 2050 onwards, the scenarios show that, globally, electricity is supplied fully by technologies without CO2 emissions.


Andries Hof, Heleen van Soest, Maarten van den Berg, Harmen Sytze de Boer, Michel den Elzen, Mathijs Harmsen, Mark Roelfsema, Detlef van Vuuren


Publication title
Raising the ambition level of INDCs allows for a smoother energy transition
Publication date
2 December 2015
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