Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

UN sustainable energy initiative could put world on a path to climate targets

Date:
February 24, 2013
Source:
International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Summary:
The UN's Sustainable Energy for All initiative, if successful, could make a significant contribution to the efforts to limit climate change to target levels, according to a new analysis.

The UN's Sustainable Energy for All initiative, if successful, could make a significant contribution to the efforts to limit climate change to target levels, according to a new analysis from IIASA and ETH Zurich.

The study, published today in Nature Climate Change, showed that reaching the 3 energy-related objectives proposed by the United Nations in their Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) initiative, launched in 2011, would reduce emissions of greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change and, in combination with other measures, could help keep global temperature rise from exceeding the internationally agreed target level of 2C.

"Achievement of the 3 objectives would provide an important entry point into stringent climate protection," says Joeri Rogelj, ETH Zurich researcher and IIASA-affiliated scientist, who led the study. The study found that the short-term objectives, which aim for 2030, would help achieve long-term climate targets. However, to ensure achievement of stringent climate objectives, SE4ALL would need to be complemented by other measures, the researchers say.

The SE4All objectives include providing universal access to modern energy, doubling the share of renewable energy globally, and doubling the rate of improvement in energy efficiency -- all by 2030. While the SE4All objectives do not explicitly address climate change, it is clear that sustainable energy is a prerequisite for reducing greenhouse gas emissions: 80% of human carbon dioxide emissions come from the global energy system, including transportation, buildings, industry, and electricity, heat, and fuel production.

"Doing energy right will promote the Millennium Development Goals, such as poverty eradication and social empowerment, and at the same time kick-start the transition to a lower-carbon economy," says IIASA researcher David McCollum, who also worked on the study. "But the UN's objectives must be complemented by a global agreement on controlling greenhouse gas emissions."

While the UN energy objectives are formulated as global goals, the researchers also note that regional and national actions will be vital to achieving them. IIASA Energy program leader Keywan Riahi and study co-author says, "The next step for this initiative is already underway, with a large number of national plans that underpin the global objectives."

The researchers carried out an analysis to determine how likely we would be to limit climate warming to target levels if each or all of the SE4All objectives were achieved. Using a broad range of scenarios, the researchers found that if all the objectives were met, the likelihood of keeping temperature rise below 2C would be more than 66%. If only the renewable energy goal is met, chances of keeping temperatures below 2C would range from 40 to 90%, while achieving just the energy efficiency goal would improve the chances to between 60 and 90%. But the researchers warn that the latter result depends strongly on what economic growth is assumed in the future. The researchers note that the likelihood of reaching climate targets within the scenarios depended on a variety of other factors, including future energy demand growth, economic growth, and technological innovation.

The study also found that providing universal energy access by 2030 will not hinder long-term climate goals, thanks to the marked gains in energy efficiency that will result. "Sustainable development and poverty eradication can go hand in hand with mitigating climate risks," says Rogelj.

The new work also quantified the potential costs for reaching the SE4All objectives, which would amount to increasing energy investments between 0.1 and 0.7% of global GDP. The authors' estimates account for the substantial savings in energy use and reduced fossil energy investments that would come about through the promotion of more sustainable energy technologies and lifestyles.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Joeri Rogelj, David L. McCollum, Keywan Riahi. The UN's 'Sustainable Energy for All' initiative is compatible with a warming limit of 2 C. Nature Climate Change, 2013; DOI: 10.1038/NCLIMATE1806

Cite This Page:

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA). "UN sustainable energy initiative could put world on a path to climate targets." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 February 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130224142720.htm>.
International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA). (2013, February 24). UN sustainable energy initiative could put world on a path to climate targets. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130224142720.htm
International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA). "UN sustainable energy initiative could put world on a path to climate targets." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130224142720.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

AP (July 31, 2014) Seacrest Wolf Preserve on the northern Florida panhandle allows more than 10,000 visitors each year to get up close and personal with Arctic and British Columbian Wolves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

AP (July 31, 2014) With Florida's panther population rebounding, some ranchers complain the protected predators are once again killing their calves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Big Waves In Arctic Ocean Threaten Polar Ice

Big Waves In Arctic Ocean Threaten Polar Ice

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Big waves in parts of the Arctic Ocean are unprecedented, mainly because they used to be covered in ice. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins