Emission Reduction Targets, Energy Security and Paris Agreement Goals: A Sustainable Solution Or An Illusory Promise (Posted 20 June 2022)

KEY WORDS: Paris Agreement; Glasgow Climate Pact; emission reduction targets; net zero emissions; phasedown; coal; renewables; energy security; power systems; dispatchability;  predictability; illusory promise; plans; implementation; equity; sustainable development; SDG13; multi-objective analysis.

(i)     Commitments by governments for reducing emissions in their NDCs, to date, fall far short of what is required.

(ii)  At COP 26, the Glasgow Climate Pact called on all countries to meet the Paris Agreement’s goals by revisiting and strengthening 2030 emission reduction targets in their NDCs by the end of 2022.

(iii) But without a national plan on how to implement emission targets into climate action to achieve Paris goals and binding obligations, there is a risk that the targets pledged could prove to be an “illusory promise” i.e., a promise made which is uncertain, indefinite, vague or impossible to fulfil.

(iv) This article reviews some of the key issues for preparing viable national plans for transitioning to  a power system that is predictable and dispatchable - and complies with the Paris Agreement’s binding obligations for emission reductions to be made “on the basis of equity and in the context of sustainable development”.

(v) A national plan should not only represent a power system having the optimum balance between renewables and other climate action option(s) to reduce emissions sustainably and equitably; but also the plan should lead to a commitment that can be implemented.

(vi) A problem-solving pathway, based on multi-objective analysis methodology, is outlined to address these issues.


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