Giving Compass’ Take:
• Here are six important factors about zero-carbon energy systems from countries that have made the most progress.
• What is the role of donors in helping achieve zero-carbon energy footprint?
• Read about how the U.S. will get to zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Getting to a net-zero-carbon energy system is essential. It will be a major effort, one that requires significant investment in new low-carbon infrastructure, from renewable power plants to electric vehicles, efficient appliances and better-constructed buildings. While very few countries are on track, China, Costa Rica, Denmark, Ethiopia and the United Kingdom are further along than many others.
These countries are all over the globe at all levels of development. Some arrived where they are by intent; others were helped by geography or history. Yet they all reveal lessons about the net-zero emissions transition needed in all countries to avert the worst impacts of climate change.
Energy production and use accounts for about three-quarters of global greenhouse gas emissions, making it the most important element of a net-zero emissions strategy for many countries. Three main strategies can help countries meet energy needs with zero-carbon emissions: optimize; electrify; and decarbonize.
Some countries are further along on these three strategies than others, as indicated by their improvements in energy intensity, degree of electrification of energy use, and portion of their electricity that comes from zero-carbon sources. China, Costa Rica, Denmark, Ethiopia and the United Kingdom have some of the best scores on these indicators in the most recent available data, or have made significant progress over the past few decades on two or more indicators.
There are at least six important factors behind these countries’ decarbonization:
- Investments in energy efficiency
- Investment in non-hydro renewables
- Growing wealth and economic modernization correlate with electrification of the energy sector
- Building electrification has been significant; transportation has lagged
- Direct commitments to clean, efficient energy and decarbonization
Read the full article about zero carbon energy systems by Eric Mackres at GreenBiz.
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