How can we bend the emissions curve?
Author: Pedro Gomez
The current trajectory indicates that the planet is approaching the emissions cliff at an alarming speed. While we cannot lose sight of ambitions to reach net zero decarbonization by 2050, the actions we take today with existing technologies are key to bending the emissions curve before it is too late. Most analyses indicate that limiting warming to 1.5°C requires global greenhouse gas emissions to peak before 2025 and be halved by 2030. We are now at the start of 2023, providing us eight years at the current pace of emissions. In the absence of accelerated and effective emission reductions, including carbon removal technologies, we have limited time before we reach the point of no return. With this in mind and the evidence showing that most “true zero” destination technologies are still in the process of reaching maturity and scale, acceleration of transition technologies that can help to bend the emissions curve today is imperative. Current greenhouse gas emission reductions are not aligned with emissions reduction goal as per the Paris Agreement. We need to conceive and implement actions differently as we look to flatten the emissions curve significantly in the short term. Transition technologies, efficiency measures and low carbon fuels (LCFs) can be feasible cost-effective solutions to cut emissions within the next five years, allowing a runway for destination technologies to ramp up. Putting all of our emphasis on revolution rather than on rapid evolution could be a risky path. We need both pathways in a systemic transition.