Credible pathways to 1.5°C

Four pillars for action in the 2020s
The photo depicts a wind turbine set against a stormy Oklahoma sky.

To support preparations for upcoming major events such as the COP28 Climate Change Conference, the IEA is releasing Credible Pathways to 1.5 °C: Four pillars for action in the 2020s, a new report on the key actions needed to keep within reach the Paris Agreement’s target of limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5 °C. That possibility is narrowing rapidly, with energy-related CO2 emissions continuing to rise in 2022 despite declining costs for clean energy technologies and the dynamic deployment of renewables, electric cars and other solutions. 

Declining costs for clean energy technologies and new policies have shaved around 1 °C from projected 2100 warming compared to the pre‐Paris baseline. The ambitions that countries have put on the table go a significant way to meeting the 1.5 °C goal. If implemented on time and in full, countries’ net zero pledges would be sufficient to hold warming to around 1.7 °C in 2100. The key question is therefore what needs to be done now to strengthen near‐term action to put the world on a credible pathway consistent with the 1.5 °C goal. Four pillars are key:

  • In the energy sector, decarbonising electricity, accelerating energy efficiency and electrification are the critical tools. Capacity additions of renewables need to triple from 2022 levels by 2030, reaching around 1 200 GW annually, representing on average 90% of new generation capacity each year. Electric car sales should reach a market share of around 60% by 2030, while zero emissions medium and heavy freight trucks should reach a market share of around 35% by the same year.
  • Reducing deforestation to net zero by 2030 – in line with The Glasgow Leaders’ Declaration on Forests and Land Use – provides the largest share of CO2 emissions reductions from the land‐use sector.
  • Tackling non‐CO2 emissions is vital to limiting peak warming. Assuming strong action on CO2, meeting or exceeding commitments like the Kigali Amendment on HFCs and the Global Methane Pledge, and acting on non‐CO2 emissions from agriculture, could make the difference between a scenario which substantially overshoots 1.5 °C, risking triggering irreversible climate tipping points, and one which does not.
  • Even in a low overshoot scenario, carbon capture and storage and atmospheric carbon dioxide removal will be required to mitigate and compensate hard‐to‐abate residual emissions. Projects capturing around 1.2 Gt CO2 by 2030 need to be implemented, against the roughly 0.3 Gt CO2 currently planned for 2030.

A credible pathway to the 1.5 °C goal needs strong, immediate action on each of these four pillars, to deliver immediate and rapid emissions reductions; strong contributions from all countries, especially advanced and major economies; and clear policy signals to enable actors to anticipate and achieve change.   

This is an extract, full report available as PDF download