A pathway for staying below a 1.5°C temperature rise by transitioning to 100% renewable energy and implementing natural climate solutions
The Paris Agreement (2015) set a goal of limiting the average global temperature rise to well below 2˚C, with efforts to achieve a 1.5˚C limit above pre-industrial levels.
Following two years of research and modelling, leading scientists at UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures, the German Aerospace Centre and the University of Melbourne have developed the . The model demonstrates the feasibility of achieving the 1.5˚C target by 2050 through 100% renewable energy and natural climate solutions such as conservation and reforestation.
The model is one of the most detailed climate and energy studies ever produced and was funded by the as part of its new initiative.
Researchers used the most detailed energy model to date:
- 72 regional energy grids modelled in hourly increments through to 2050,
- a comprehensive assessment of available renewable resources like wind and solar, and
- configurations for meeting projected energy demand most efficiently over the next 30 years.
Explore the One Earth Climate Model: oneearth.uts.edu.au
Download the Executive Summary
Key findings – Keeping the temperature rise to 1.5˚C
A revolution in renewables and energy storage
Rapidly advancing the transition away from centralised fossil-fuel based energy systems to flexible renewable energy generation will see solar and wind provide 70 percent of energy demand in 2030 and 100 percent in 2050. Better regional interconnections and dispatchable power from pumped hydro, battery storage and renewable gas power plants will also be essential.
Total energy used must decrease by over a third (35%) - mostly in developed nations - using a wide range of measures, including large-scale insulation programs, efficient lighting, and strict efficiency standards for all appliances.
Major global electrification
Fossil-based fuels will be replaced with large-scale electrification of heating, cooling and transport – requiring two and a half times today’s global electricity generation.
Re-purpose the gas industry
The switch to 100 percent renewables can utilise significant parts of the world’s existing energy infrastructure. After 2030, for example, the gas industry can be converted into hydrogen using as much of the existing equipment as possible. Across the energy sector, we can use the same pipelines and energy grids – with some technical adjustments - and keep the many of the same workers.
A just transition and jobs boom
The global economy will benefit from a just transition from fossil fuels to renewables. There are currently 30 million people in the global energy industry. On this model’s 1.5 degrees Celsius pathway, in 2025 energy jobs around the world will increase to 42 million, with most job types remaining unchanged.
Beyond energy - reforestation
Halting the biodiversity crisis of deforestation goes hand in hand with addressing energy-related greenhouse gas emissions to maintain safe living conditions on planet Earth. Reforestation and forest restoration pathways will draw down emissions over the next 150 years approximately equivalent to those caused by global deforestation so far.
The One Earth Climate Model will be published in February 2019 by Springer Nature in Achieving the Paris Climate Agreement Goals: Global and Regional 100% Renewable Energy Scenarios with Non-energy GHG Pathways for +1.5°C and +2°C as an Open Access title.
The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (LDF) is dedicated to the long-term health and wellbeing of all Earth’s inhabitants and supports projects around the world that build climate resiliency, protect vulnerable wildlife from extinction, and restore balance to threatened ecosystems and communities. LDF’s grant making program, totalling over $100m to date, supports conservation projects and innovative solutions in 60 countries.
UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF)
ISF is an interdisciplinary research and consulting organisation setting global benchmarks since 1997 in helping governments, NGOs, businesses and communities achieve long term sustainable solutions that protect and enhance the environment, human wellbeing and social equity. In climate change and the energy sector, ISF has developed advanced models to holistically examine the global energy system, region by region - from financing and business models, to policy and regulation, to technological and infrastructure analysis, including links to urban water and waste systems.
German Aerospace Center (DLR): Institute for Engineering Thermodynamics, Department of Energy Systems Analysis and Institute of Vehicle Concepts Department of Vehicle Systems and Technology Assessment
The DLR is one of Germany’s largest federal research centres with a staff of 8,000. Its program includes the fields of energy and transport, specifically for efficient energy systems and the technological, environmental, and economic potentials of renewable energy in the context of energy economy, advanced energy system modeling, development of energy scenarios, and the analysis of future vehicle concepts for road and rail traffic.
University of Melbourne: Australian-German Climate and Energy College
The university co-leads a new bilateral research collaboration with top German institutions including the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research to perform research into the economic opportunities of a zero carbon future.
Lead Author: Dr Sven Teske, Research Director, UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures. .