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USD13.5-trillion needed to be carbon neutral by 2050 says WEF

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Significant investment in new energy sources is needed to achieve the ambitious target of reaching net-zero by 2050. Image credit: Unsplash

USD13.5-trillion needed to be carbon neutral by 2050 says WEF

Transitioning to a more sustainable and carbon-neutral future, USD13.5-trillion in investments will be needed by 2050, particularly in the production, energy and transport sectors, according to a new World Economic Forum report.

The Net-Zero Industry Tracker 2023, published in collaboration with Accenture, takes stock of progress towards net-zero emissions for eight industries – steel, cement, aluminum, ammonia, excluding other chemicals, oil and gas, aviation, shipping and trucking – which depend on fossil fuels for 90% of their energy demand and pose some of the most technological and capital-intensive decarbonisation challenges.

The report, published the same week as the United Nations called at COP28 for “dramatic climate action” to close an “emissions canyon”, outlines pathways to accelerate the decarbonisation of emission-intensive production, energy and transport industries.

While the pathway to net zero in these sectors will differ based on unique sectoral and regional factors, investments in clean power, clean hydrogen and infrastructure for carbon capture, utilisation, and storage (CCUS) will be needed to accelerate industrial decarbonisation across most sectors.

Significant infrastructure required (USD13.5-trillion needed to be carbon neutral by 2050 says WEF)

“Decarbonising these industrial and transport sectors, which emit 40% of global greenhouse gas emissions today, is essential to achieving net zero, especially as demand for industrial products and transport services will continue to be strong,” says Roberto Bocca, Head of Centre for Energy and Materials, World Economic Forum.

“Significant infrastructure investments are required, complemented by policies and stronger incentives so industries can switch to low-emission technologies while ensuring access to affordable and reliable resources critical for economic growth.”

According to the report, the USD13.5-trillion in investments is derived from average clean power generation costs of solar, off-shore and on-shore wind, nuclear and geothermal, electrolyser costs for clean hydrogen and carbon transport, as well as storage costs.

The Net-Zero Industry Tracker proposes a comprehensive framework of emissions drivers and enablers to measure progress and identify gaps, scorecards for each industry, and opportunities for cross-sector collaboration. Building on the 2022 edition, the updated report includes transportation sectors and applies the framework to identify strategies for net-zero industrial transformation.

The report’s findings underscore the urgency for creating a robust enabling environment, including low-emissions technologies, infrastructure, demand for green products, policies, and investments.

In addition to increasing capital expenditures to decarbonize existing industrial and transport asset bases, further investment is needed to build a clean-energy infrastructure.

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USD13.5-trillion needed to be carbon neutral by 2050 says WEF

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USD13.5-trillion needed to be carbon neutral by 2050 says WEF

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