Human society will not look the same in 2050 as it does today. We all know that. What we don’t know yet is how much it will be destroyed and disrupted by an out-of-control climate catastrophe. Various scientists and policymakers have tried to determine and show the best path forward to limit the catastrophe, to ensure a bright future for our kids, grandkids, and great-grandkids. One of the most comprehensive and scientifically rigorous attempts at this is a study recently published in the journal Energy. The article is titled, “One Earth Climate Model—Integrated Energy Assessment Model to Develop Industry-Specific 1.5 °C Pathways with High Technical Resolution for the Finance Sector.”
One Earth Climate Model Study
This study examined how to keep warming below 1.5°C by 2050 on an industry by industry basis. Naturally, the authors of this report are concerned about the matter at hand, and don’t want the study to sit in a deep, dark corner of the interwebs accumulating virtual dust while the world ignores its existence. So, with the study wrapped up, the next step is getting the word out there about it and delivering the key findings to relevant people. One of the first such avenues for that is an event tomorrow, Wednesday, May 4. Members of the research team will be presenting a webinar entitled, “Net Zero investor targets & sector pathways: One Earth Climate Model.”
The webinar is actually hosted by the UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) in partnership with the UNEP Finance Initiative. Here is how the webinar is described on that event page:
“Join this global investor debate on pathways to net zero across key sectors. As part of the event, Sven Teske will launch the latest key results of the One Earth Climate Model (OECM) for 12 industry sectors on scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions. Analysis will consider how investors can use the One Earth Climate Model to evaluate their relative alignment with a net zero transition in the real economy, and discuss how these aligns and differs from IEA NZE2050. This discussion will inform investors on how to assess global economic models that can support robust Net Zero target setting and transition plan reporting across markets.”
As that summary highlights, the researchers thoroughly explored emissions (scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions) in 12 different industry sectors. The study explored everything from air freight & logistics to textile & leather to metals and mining. The initial broad sectors the researchers examined were: “residential + buildings, industry, and transport.” Then, each of those was split up into other sub-sectors. For example, within transport, sub-sectors are: aviation, navigation, rail, and road.
There is even more nesting of topics than that, though. The researchers dove into the details of life in order to estimate emissions and how to reduce them. Here’s the nested breakdown of the residential + buildings sector: “The residential sector R (first layer) has a list of household types (second layer) and each household type has a standard set of services (third layer), such as ‘lighting’, ‘cooling’ or ‘entertainment’. Finally, the applications for each of the services are defined (fourth layer), such as refrigerator or freezer for ‘cooling’. The energy intensity of each application can be altered by the modeler to reflect the status quo in a certain region and/or to reflect improvements in energy efficiency.”
As you can see, the study is a gold mine of information and analysis for energy nerds, climate nerds, or basically anyone intrigued by the workings of society. Furthermore, the journal article provides tools for further customized analysis. In other words, you can use their framework and investigate the future in yourself, tweaking assumptions as you see fit. One key of the analysis and provided tools is that the researchers recognized that everything is connected and tried to adequately build in that interdependence. If you decide to make the steel industry heavily hydrogen based, for example, that will influence other sectors and their use of hydrogen — such as the transportation and energy storage sectors. “This interaction between a technology change in one sector (eg, to move to electric process heat) and the technical and cost implications for other sectors (eg, power utilities and grid operators) is a central component of the model dynamics,” the report states.
Join the Webinar!
Money makes the world go around. Returning to the topic of the One Earth webinar, the heart of it is that the investment community needs to understand how different effective investments in low-carbon or zero-carbon technologies and processes will be. They can do their jobs much better and invest money more wisely if they see comprehensive plans for how to adequately reduce emissions. They can even help create those comprehensive plans.
If these matters intrigue you, join the webinar on Wednesday, May 4.
This article is supported by One Earth.
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