• The global pandemic is a ‘lost opportunity’ to speed up the energy transition, DNV says
  • The global expansion of electrification underway won’t be enough to meet the Paris agreement
  • Scaling of hydrogen could take 20 years and could arrive too late 

Global advisory firm DNV has released its 2021 Energy Transition Outlook which warns that even if all electricity was ‘green’ from today onwards, the world will still fall super short of achieving the 2050 net zero emissions of the Paris Agreement.

Basically, the report highlights the global pandemic as a ‘lost opportunity’ for speeding up the energy transition – with recovery packages largely focused on protecting rather than transforming existing industries.

And even though electrification is on course to double in size within a generation (and renewables are already the most competitive source of new power) DNV’s forecast shows global emissions will reduce only 9% by 2030.

Governments can react urgently to COVID – why not climate too?

“We’ve seen governments around the world take extraordinary steps to manage the effects of the pandemic and stimulate a recovery,” DNV CEO and group president Remi Eriksen said.

“However, I am deeply concerned about what it will take for governments to apply the resolution and urgency they have shown in the face of the pandemic to our climate.”

“We must now see the same sense of urgency to avoid a climate catastrophe.”

“Many of the pandemic recovery packages have largely focused on protecting, rather than transforming, existing industries.”

“A lot of ‘building back’ as opposed to ‘building better’ and although this is a lost opportunity, it is not the last we have for transitioning faster to a deeply decarbonized energy system.”

We need to scale up and invest in hydrogen now

As rapid as the transition to decarbonisation is, DNV said it’s not fast enough.

Indirect electrification like hydrogen and e-fuels are the best chance to reign in emissions.

But it’s not scaling rapidly enough – DNV forecasts that hydrogen will only start to scale from the mid-2030s and, even then, only building to 5% of the energy mix by 2050.

The report said the way forward is to invest in and scale up hydrogen pathways.

“Extraordinary action will be needed to bring the hydrogen economy into full force earlier – but these are extraordinary times,” Eriksen said.

“The window to avoid catastrophic climate change is closing soon, and the costs of not doing so unimaginable.”