The next quarter century will witness a number of developments driven by technology advances and policy decisions that will substantially influence the world's greenhouse gas emissions profile.
As policymakers develop mechanisms to meet the goals set forth in the 2015 Paris climate agreement, the research and development efforts of the world’s scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs will propel energy’s evolution.
Advances will promote not only new energy supply options and greater energy efficiency, but also emerging opportunities for technologies like carbon capture and storage (CCS). Between 2015 and 2040, innovation in the transportation sector will deliver significant increases in fuel economy for cars and commercial vehicles. We will also see a shift in the types of energy used for electricity generation, led by natural gas and renewables. Coal’s share of global power generation has been falling recently and will continue to drop, with gains being made by less carbon-intensive energy sources such as natural gas, nuclear, wind and solar.
The initial result will be a continued slowdown in the growth of global carbon dioxide emissions. Global energy-related CO2 emissions are likely to peak during the 2030s and begin to decline – all the more remarkable considering the fact that global GDP is expected to double in the period from 2015 to 2040.