Let’s assume efforts to decarbonise society over the next eight years, from now to 2030, go better than many of us had anticipated, thanks in large part to the Inflation Reduction Act and the incentives it gives industry and business and the bi-partisan appeal of the law. What happens next? There’s a long way to go if we want to reach net zero by 2050.
We need to continue doing many things already happening: expand wind and solar power, encourage people to purchase electric vehicles, use carbon capture technology to eliminate emissions from those hard-to-electrify industries. But these actions alone are not enough: we’ll need drastic technological innovation and societal change to make net zero emissions by 2050 a reality. The International Energy Association estimates that almost half of global emissions reductions by 2050 will come from technologies that exist only as prototypes or demonstration projects today. It’s best to face up to this: we are relying on human ingenuity – on our children’s ability to come up with solutions that have eluded us so far – to prevent catastrophe. We do not yet have the answers – i.e. the technology – we need.
Who are the people and organisations breaking new ground in clean energy? And who are the thinkers and policymakers facilitating the widespread adoption of these new technologies? In this event, the second in our three-part series in partnership with Cummins, we looked further ahead and discussed the crucial steps needed as we close in on the global target of net zero emissions by 2050.