Most of the decarbonisation pathways that claim to be compatible with the climate agreement show a strong long-term dependence on natural gas and coal, explain academics Robert Brecha and Gaurav Ganti
Several major oil companies, including BP and Shell, periodically publish scenarios predicting the future of the energy sector. In recent years, they have added visions of how climate change might be addressed, including scenarios they say are consistent with the international Paris climate agreement.
These scripts are very influential. They are used by companies making investment decisions and, importantly, by policymakers as a basis for their decisions.
But are they really compatible with the Paris Agreement?
Many of the future scenarios show continued dependence on fossil fuels. But data gaps and a lack of transparency can make it difficult to compare them with independent scientific assessments such as global reviews Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
U research published in the journal Communications of nature, our international team analyzed four of these scenarios and two others from the International Energy Agency using a new method we developed to directly compare such energy scenarios. We’ve identified five of them – including the oft-cited scenarios from BP, A shell and Equinor – did not meet the Paris goals.
What awaits the Paris Agreement
The Paris Agreement of 2015, signed by almost all countries, defines several criteria to achieve their goals.
One is to keep the global average temperature increase well below two degrees Celsius (3.6 F) above pre-industrial levels, and to continue efforts to keep warming below 1.5 °C (2.7 F). . The agreement also says global emissions must peak as soon as possible and reach at least net zero greenhouse gas emissions in the second half of the century. Pathways that meet these goals indicate that carbon emissions would have to fall even faster, reaching net zero by around 2050.
Scientific evidence shows that 1.5°C warming, even temporarily, will be harmful implications for global climate. These impacts are not necessarily reversible, and it is unclear how well people, ecosystems, and economies will be able to adapt.
How scripts are executed
We’re working with Climate Analytics, a non-profit policy think tank, to better understand the implications of the Paris Agreement for global and national decarbonisation pathways – the paths countries can take to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. In particular, we investigated the role of coal and natural gas in the world’s transition away from fossil fuels.
When we analyzed the decarbonization scenarios of energy companies, we found that BP‘s, A shelland EquinorUS scenarios far exceed the Paris Agreement limit of 1.5°C, with only BPIt has a greater than 50 percent chance of a temperature drop of 1.5°C by 2100.
These scenarios also showed higher near-term use of coal and longer-term use of gas for electricity generation than Paris-compatible scenarios such as those assessed by the IPCC. Overall, the energy company scenarios also have higher carbon emissions than the Paris-compliant scenarios.
Of the six scenarios, we identified only the International Energy Agency scenario Net Zero by 2050 the scenario shows an energy future compatible with the 1.5°C target of the Paris Agreement.
We found that this scenario has more than a 33 percent chance that warming will not exceed 1.5°C, a 50 percent chance that temperatures will be 1.5°C higher or lower in 2100, and almost 90 -percentage probability of keeping warming always below 2°C. This is consistent with the criteria we use for evaluation Sequence of the Paris Agreementand also in line with the approach adopted in the IPCC Special Report on 1.5°Cwhich highlights pathways with no or limited overshoot for 1.5°C compatibility.
Getting the decarbonization picture right
When any group publishes future energy scenarios, it is useful to have a transparent way of comparing apples to apples and assessing the temperature implications. Most corporate scenarios, with the exception of Shell’s Sky 1.5 scenario, do not go beyond mid-century and focus on carbon dioxide without assessing other greenhouse gases.
Our method uses a transparent procedure to extend each path to 2100 and estimate the emissions of other gases, allowing us to calculate the temperature results of these scenarios using simple climate models.
Without a consistent basis for comparison, there is a risk that policymakers and businesses will have an inaccurate view of the pathways available to decarbonize economies.
Achieving the 1.5°C target will not be easy. The planet has already warmed 1.1°C since pre-industrial times, and people are suffering from deadly heat, drought, wildfires and severe storms linked to climate change. There is little room for false starts and dead ends as countries transform their energy, agricultural and industrial systems towards zero greenhouse gas emissions.
Robert Brecha is a professor in the Department of Sustainable Development at the University of Dayton, and Gaurav Gantsi is a Ph.D. student of geography at Humboldt University of Berlin.
This article originally appeared on Conversation.
https://www.businessgreen.com/opinion/4054876/influential-oil-company-scenarios-combating-climate-change-dont-actually-meet-paris-agreement-goals-analysis Our new analysis shows that influential oil companies are not meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement to fight climate change