A new report commissioned by the Energy Transition Committee has found that developments in the latest technology in the world should mean it is possible for global net carbon neutrality to be achieved by 2060. The ‘Mission Impossible’ report released by the Committee, which is made up from 200 industry leaders and promotes the transition to clean energy, argues that the development of new technology means transport and manufacturing will be able to evolve to the point where they are the cause of minimal emissions over the coming four decades.
Electrically powered motor vehicles such as cars, buses and trucks are expected to have reached cost parity with alternatives with combustion engines running on fossil fuel by 2030. That should prove to be the catalyst for full transition towards electric in the decade that follows. Electrical power itself is also forecast to be able to be fully produced ‘cleanly’ from renewable sources. Aviation, while it will take longer, is also moving towards hybrid power systems that mean electricity will take much of the load off jet engines and jet fuel.
The latest technology in the world of carbon filters and carbon capture should also allow manufacturing to achieve net carbon emissions neutrality. Further advances in biofuels and hydrogen are highlighted as additional positive contributors that will help make the forecast realistically achievable.
Crucially, advances in technology should mean that the economic cost of a global carbon neutral economy is low. Low carbon transport and shipping will, the report estimates, will have a cost impact of just 0.1% for a garment like a pair of jeans. Manufacturing steel and plastics in a sustainable, carbon neutral way would also be expected to add just £140 to the price of a new car or less than a penny to the cost of a plastic bottle.
The report’s optimism that a zero carbon future will be achievable thanks to the latest technology in the world of carbon capture, electric vehicles and clean energy production provides a timely boost. It comes just a couple of months after a UN climate change committee warning that only ‘unprecedented action’ will avoid the accelerating progress of the catastrophic climate change resulting from carbon emissions.
Lord Adair Turner, who co-chairs the Energy Transition Committee commented:
“We can build a zero-carbon economy with a minor cost to economic growth. We should now commit to achieving this by 2060 at the latest, and put in place the policies and investments required to deliver it.”