【Report】Net Zero by 2050 – A Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector


On May 18, the International Energy Agency (IEA) released a special report “Net Zero by 2050: a Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector” that charts a pathway to building a global energy sector with net zero emissions in 2050.

Even though a number of countries have pledged to achieve net zero emissions, it would still leave around 22 billion tons of CO2 emissions worldwide in 2050. The continuation of that trend would be consistent with a temperature rise in 2100 of around 2.1 °C.

We cannot achieve net zero by 2050 unless we start moving soon, and the comprehensive roadmap and specific recommendations provided by the IEA are very valuable in planning how to realize the net zero target.

Here are some of the major energy-related points from the report:

  • 2021: Cease approval of new investments for new unabated coal plants, new coal mines, or mine extensions
  • 2030: Phase-out of unabated coal in advanced economies
  • 2035: Overall net zero emissions electricity in advanced economies
  • 2040: Phase-out of the world’s remaining oil and coal power plants
  • 2050: Almost 90% of electricity generation coming from renewable sources, with wind and solar PV together accounting for nearly 70%


The report states clearly that energy production, usage, and transportation will need to be fundamentally changed to achieve net zero in 2050. Additionally, it is necessary to increase research and development budgets that relate to global warming countermeasures, such as batteries, hydrogen production (electrolysis), and direct air capture (DAC) technology, and to innovate new technologies such as carbon dioxide capture, utilization and storage (CCUS), green hydrogen, etc. which at this time have yet to be commercialized.

The report also mentions that employment in oil, gas and coal will decline by around 5 million by 2030, but clean energy employment will increase by 14 million.

This special report is designed to inform the high-level negotiations that will take place at the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Glasgow this November. The goal of net zero in 2050 is in line with the Paris Agreement’s goal of keeping global temperatures within 1.5℃ from the Industrial Revolution, and we expect the IEA’s detailed strategy and roadmap from this report to have a big impact.

Fatih Birol, the Executive Director of IEA, stated “the pathway to net zero is narrow but achievable,” and emphasized the cooperation of each country is indispensable. The world is counting on governments and companies to strengthen their measures toward achieving net zero in 2050.


Report Download:

  • Press release: Pathway to critical and formidable goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 is narrow but brings huge benefits, according to IEA special report (Link)
  • Report: Net Zero by 2050 A Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector (Link)
  • Direct Download: Net Zero by 2050 A Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector (PDF)


Written / Published by: International Energy Agency (IEA)
Published: May 18, 2021