The Green Scene: Net Zero by 2050 Report & African Forest Maps And Climate Change

May 19, 2021 9:45 am

The ‘Green Scene’ Series on Newstalk is a weekly update on energy and environmental matters with Pat Kenny and MaREI Director Brian Ó Gallachóir.

On May 19, 2021, Prof Ó Gallachóir discussed the significant launch of a Net Zero by 2050 Report from the International Energy Agency and the vulnerabilities of African forests to climate change as revealed by new maps. 


Or listen to the podcast on Newstalk by following the link: Here 

See the talking points below.

1. International Energy Agency launch significant Net Zero by 2050 Report

1. The International Energy Agency has launched a significant new report on achieving a Net Zero CO2 Emissions Energy System by 2050

2. The pledges by governments to date on emissions reduction are increasing BUT – even if fully achieved – fall well short of what is required

3. The IEA has published the world’s first comprehensive study of how to transition to a net zero energy system by 2050 while ensuring stable and affordable energy supplies, providing universal energy access, and enabling robust economic growth.

4. It highlights that there is a narrow but still achievable opportunity of net-zero emissions by 2050

5. The pathway requires strong and credible policy actions from governments, underpinned by much greater international cooperation

6. The Roadmap sets out more than 400 milestones to guide the global journey to net zero by 2050, including .

a) no investment in new fossil fuel supply projects

b) no further final investment decisions for new unabated coal plants

c) no sales of new internal combustion engine passenger cars (from 2035)

d) net zero emissions electricity by 2040

7. The analysis points to immediate and massive deployment of all available clean and efficient energy technologies

a) annual additions of solar PV to reach 630 gigawatts by 2030, and those of wind power to reach 390 gigawatts.

b) Together, this is four times the record level set in 2020

c) the global rate of energy efficiency improvements averaging 4% a year through 2030 – about three times the average over the last two decades.

8. We also need a major global push to accelerate innovation (in 2050, almost half the reductions come from technologies that are currently only at the demonstration or prototype phase)

9. Progress in the areas of advanced batteries, electrolysers for hydrogen, and direct air capture and storage can be particularly impactful.

2. African forest maps reveal areas vulnerable to the effects of climate change

1. The journal Nature reports on an analysis of six million trees revealing spatial patterns in the vulnerability of Central African rainforests to climate change and human activities.

2. The Central African rainforests are the second largest area of continuous rainforest in the world, after the Amazon rainforest.

3. They store more carbon per hectare than does the Amazon and, on average, have a higher density of large trees than does any other continent

4. Human activities, notably logging and over-hunting, facilitated by an expanding road network, pose a serious threat to Central African rainforests and their value for society

5. This article explore the importance of climate change, when acting on top of these existing human-generated pressures, for the future of these rainforests.

6. Some forests in locations that have so far been relatively undisturbed by humans are more vulnerable to climate change than are those in areas already affected.

7. For those areas already affected, the lower tree diversity as a consequence of human intervention reduces the capacity of forests to respond to climate change.

8. It shows that the Central African rainforests are not a single bloc of forests, but instead encompass at least ten distinct forest types.

9. The areas most vulnerable to climate change and predicted to be highly vulnerable to future human-induced pressures include forests in coastal Gabon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the northern margin of the domain studied.

10. This finding suggests priority regions for targeted actions to protect forests from environmental changes.

11. One such region under human pressure is in Cameroon and contains a forest group called degraded semi-deciduous forest.

12. Protecting this type of forest offers a fast way of generating a carbon sink that will operate over a long time frame