A new study, published on Monday in Nature Energy, reported that global warming can be limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius via unprecedented improvements in the energy efficiency of everyday activities.
According to the new research, which was conducted by an international team of scientists from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Laxenburg, Austria, dramatic transformations in the way we move around, heat and cool our homes, and buy and use devices and appliances in our cities can help raise living standards in the global South to meet UN Sustainable Development Goals while also remaining within the 1.5 degrees Celsius target set by the 2015 Paris Agreement.
Speaking to Daily News Egypt, Joeri Rogelj, PhD research scholar at the Energy Programme of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), said that the study, which is the first ever to show how the 1.5 degrees Celsius target can be reached without relying on unproven technologies such as bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (CCS) which remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and bury, showed that improved living standards for all need not come with a large increase in energy demand at the expense of the global environment.
He added that the study represents a step of change for scientists to explore and imagine a future with a focus of concerns for developing countries, providing a scenario in which living conditions in the global South are strongly increased and in which, at the same time, the climate problem is contained to levels that will limit the impacts on vulnerable developing countries.
“The new research explores how improvements in the ways in which we move around, use energy in our homes, or produce products can allow us to reduce energy demand by mid-century while increase quality of living in the South,” he said. This in return results in much more flexibility in how greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced to limit global warming to low levels.
The researchers used a combination of a bottom-up and top-down analysis. In the bottom-up part they have a detailed look at individual sectors and potential improvements in these. In the top-down part, they then explore how the required energy can be supplied while at the same time limiting the amount of greenhouse gas emissions.