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Energy transition outlook

Wood Mackenzie’s modelling of energy transition pathways and the route to net zero

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Reducing global emissions to pre-industrial levels and achieving net zero is one of the greatest challenges facing humankind. The energy transition currently underway is about a transformational switch away from fossil fuels and into cleaner, renewable sources of energy.  

Accelerating the energy transition is critical to halting climate change and limiting its damaging impact. But the path to net zero is complex, incorporating all aspects of global energy and natural resources systems.  

Our energy transition scenarios

Wood Mackenzie’s energy transition outlook report (part of our Energy Transition Service) maps three different routes through the energy transition with increasing levels of ambition but also difficulty and investment. They are our independent assessment of what it would take to deliver on countries’ announced net zero pledges and potential outcomes for the planet.  

Our scenarios

Base case

Base case

Our assessment of the most likely outcome based on the evolution of current policies and technologies increasing with ambition but reflecting challenges and inertia built into many existing energy systems.

Country pledges

Country pledges

Our view of how countries existing emissions targets is achieved, roughly in line with a 2-degree warming trajectory.

Net zero 2050

Net zero 2050

A credible pathway of how the 2015 Paris Agreement of 1.5 degree warming by 2100 is achieved.

Credible interpretations of possible futures

These scenarios are based on cross-sector and multi-commodity modelling. They integrate our analyses of power and renewables, upstream and downstream oil and gas, metals and mining and emerging technologies, including electro-mobility, low-carbon hydrogen, CCUS and direct air capture, nature-based solutions, bio-energy and others. 

We present both scenarios and outcomes, considering different versions of possible futures. The scenarios explore credible interpretations built on policy targets, technology choices and behavioural changes the world already appears to be making. 

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  • Scenario 1

    Base case

    Our view of the most likely energy transition pathway.

    ExploreBase case
  • Scenario 2

    Country pledges

    Mapping a path to achieving announced emissions reduction pledges.

    ExploreCountry pledges
  • Scenario 3

    Net zero by 2050

    The route to the most ambitious target of the 2015 Paris Agreement.

    ExploreNet zero by 2050

Regional focus

  • Opinion


    The energy transition in Africa must strike the right balance between improving access to energy and addressing decarbonisation goals

    Find out more Africa
  • Opinion


    The energy transition pace varies across the Americas – what would it take to get the whole region onto a net zero pathway?

    Find out more Americas
  • Opinion

    Asia Pacific

    What does the path to net zero look like in world's largest market for oil, gas and coal?

    Find out moreAsia Pacific
  • Opinion


    Net zero strategies and progress vary across the EU27 – a collective acceleration is required to hit shared targets.

    Find out more EU
  • Opinion

    Middle East

    Ambition doesn’t yet match reality for the Middle East energy transition – but there are opportunities to build a more diverse energy economy.

    Find out more Middle East
  • Opinion


    UK net zero scenarios depend on rapid deployment of decarbonised power, low-carbon hydrogen and CCUS infrastructure

    Find out more UK

The energy transition is already underway. What could it mean for your business?

  • How will global energy demand evolve in a low-carbon future?
  • How will carbon regulation impact the chemicals sector?
  • What does increasing EV penetration mean for the power sector?

To discuss these questions and more, talk to a consultant with expertise in your sector and region today.

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