Mitigating energy-related carbon emissions: which role for natural gas?
The transition towards low-carbon economies has gained a strong momentum in recent energy debates, particularly with the announcements by several countries, including the EU Member States, the UK, Japan and South Korea, to shift their energy systems towards net-zero emissions by 2050 and China by 2060. This dynamic has raised the opportunity for developing scenario-based analyses to enable a better understanding of the potential decarbonisation pathways and their impact on future energy systems.
The GECF Secretariat is part of this debate and strives to bring its views, through scenario analysis, on the future decarbonisation trajectories, and the role of natural gas in the energy transitions. In its 5th edition of the Global Gas Outlook 2050, a Carbon Mitigation Scenario (CMS) has been developed to investigate the potential of reducing energy-related emissions with larger penetration of natural gas. In this context, this expert commentary aims to outline key insights from the development of the CMS and position this scenario with benchmarked scenarios, published recently by other forecasting organisations.
Investigating carbon mitigation trajectories: two main approaches for scenario analysis
We begin by distinguishing between two main approaches adopted by forecasting organisations for defining and analysing alternative scenarios for carbon mitigation. A first approach can be categorised as a future-backward (or future-back) analysis (1)(2), generally used in scenarios considering net-zero emissions (e.g., IEA NZE2050, BP net-zero) (3)(4). These scenarios define the future targets such as, reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 and the prospects for possible energy pathways that might drive the world towards these targets.
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