Supporting policymakers to make informed decisions towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement.
Emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) must peak now if global warming is to be limited to 2°C. CO2 removal is key to eliminate GHG emissions from the existing, predominantly fossil fuel-based infrastructure, ensure reliable energy services and social cohesion, and enable a smooth transition.
Improving energy efficiency and decarbonising energy supply are essential to meet the Paris Agreement targets. Renewable energy, highly efficient fossil fuels with carbon capture, use, and storage (CCUS), nuclear power, and hydrogen will all be part of the mix.
Only bold, immediate, and sustained action can decarbonize energy in time. International cooperation is essential to support all countries in the UNECE region to build resilience of the energy system and to accelerate energy transition towards attaining carbon neutrality.
Carbon capture, use, and storage (CCUS) is the process of capturing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil power generation and industrial processes for storage deep underground or re-use.
UNECE countries need to deploy zero carbon and negative carbon technologies to capture 90Gt of CO2 by 2050.
Carbon neutrality will require rapid deployment of carbon capture, use, and storage (CCUS) technologies to bridge the gap until innovative, next generation low-, zero-, or negative-carbon technologies are commercialized.
Nuclear power is an important source of low-carbon electricity and heat that contributes to attaining carbon neutrality.
Decarbonizing energy is a significant undertaking that requires the use of all available low-carbon technologies. The world’s climate objectives will not be met if nuclear technologies are excluded.
Beyond existing large-scale nuclear reactors, nuclear power continues to evolve. In future, new innovations such as small modular reactors (SMRs) could provide electricity for small grids or remote locations and will improve the integration of variable renewable energy sources.
Hydrogen (H2) is a bulk chemical that is used primarily today in petroleum refining and in the production of ammonia (for fertilisers) and methanol. Hydrogen is already used a chemical feedstock, for example for ammonia used in fertilisers or in hydrocarbons used for plastics.
In the future, hydrogen can be used as an energy carrier and energy storage medium. It has vast, viable applications across a range of sectors that need to be decarbonized, such as transport, industry, power generation and heat for buildings.
Hydrogen can decarbonize energy intensive industries and long-haul transport where electrification is only partially possible, or the technology does not yet exist. A rapid shift to a “hydrogen ecosystem” will require swift and extensive expansion of renewable and low-carbon hydrogen production.
Life cycle assessment allows the evaluation of a product over its life cycle, and across a wide range of environmental indicators – this method was chosen to report on the environmental profiles of various technologies.
Life cycle assessment of all technology is necessary to understand potential environmental, economic, and social implications of the array of low- and zero-carbon technologies and the contribution these technologies can make to global sustainable development.
intensive industries including cement, steel and chemicals are responsible for 25% of global
CO2 emissions. Electrification of many industrial processes remain
Energy intensive industries support low-carbon economic growth. Among many other uses, steel and concrete structures are required to support energy transition such as wind turbines, thermal insulation for energy efficiency and lightweight materials for electric cars.
We need transformational change in industry business models to scale-up net-zero industrial clusters as part of a circular carbon economy. Industrial energy efficiencies coupled with hydrogen and CCUS are critical for the development of industrial clusters with stronger systemic efficiencies, electrification, and demand optimization.
Action starts now to make the required changes to the energy system. Technology interplay is essential to achieving carbon neutrality.
order to reach net-zero CO2 emissions, structural change will be required
in the energy system and beyond.
There is a gap between commitments and action, and time has run out to commence the structural change needed. International cooperation is essential to build resilience in the energy system and support the systemic lifestyle changes required across industry, buildings, and transport.
UNECE continues to support all countries across the region to accelerate the energy transition towards attaining carbon neutrality through inclusive and transparent dialogue and international cooperation.