Greenhouse gas emissions remain on a steadily rising path despite policymakers’ best efforts, an OECD report has warned. Nuclear was noted as a major mitigating technology, while governments were urged to avoid ‘lock-in’ to carbon-emitting generation.
The OECD study considered climate change, biodiversity, fresh water and the health impact of pollution. In the chapter on climate change, the body run by the governments of the world’s more developed nations asked whether “current pledges are enough to limit average temperature increase to 2ºC.” For this, atmospheric concentrations of CO2 need to be kept below 450 parts per million (ppm).
It was noted that energy-related carbon dioxide emissions reached a high of 30.6 billion tonnes in 2010 – the major share of the overall global total of 48.4 billion tonnes that year.
Under a baseline scenario, that assumed current pledges were kept by the governments of the world but no new ones made, total annual emissions in 2050 could be some 80.8 billion tonnes, with 52.8 billion coming from energy. While all seb-sectors of energy are set to expand significantly, the most dramatic growth is expected in power generation where emissions could grow from today’s 13.0 billion tonnes to 27.5 billion tonnes as an 80% growth in demand is met.