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Carbon-constrained scenario 2018: Navigating a challenging path to lower global emissions

David Brown

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23 October 2018

Carbon-constrained scenario 2018: Navigating a challenging path to lower global emissions

Report summary

Wood Mackenzie’s annual carbon-constrained scenario is our annual analysis of how a world can move towards deeper-decarbonisation. A lower-carbon future is the result; a world in which coal demand has already peaked and will head into inexorable decline. A future for gas which is positive through 2040, though not without signs that renewables could eventually curtail the need for the lowest-carbon of fossil fuels. An outlook for oil which sees growth until 2031, but declines thereafter, as the electrification of the global vehicle fleet gathers pace.

Who wins and who loses if the energy transition accelerates?

In this report, we answer the energy industry's top three questions about accelerated decarbonisation: 

  1. If technology trends accelerate, what does that mean for fossil fuel demand in general and peak oil demand in particular?
  2. What emissions cuts are required to achieve the 2-degree outlook?
  3. How will faster growth of renewables impact coal, gas, and nuclear?

Even the carbon constrained scenario falls well short of the ‘2 degrees Celsius world’ of the IEA SDS trajectory. To get there, much more will need to happen beyond the power sector.

Picture this: accelerated decarbonisation 

  • A lower-carbon future is the result; a world in which coal demand has already peaked and will head into inexorable decline.
  • A future for gas which is positive through 2040, though not without signs that renewables could eventually curtail the need for the lowest-carbon of fossil fuels.
  • An outlook for oil which sees growth until 2031, but declines thereafter, as the electrification of the global vehicle fleet gathers pace.

What's new?

In the 2018 carbon constrained scenario, we build on 2017's analysis with new depth and breadth of insight. You'll get: 

  • An outline of the major assumptions behind the faster growth of electric vehicles
  • In-depth analysis of the impact on coal
  • An overview of the major governmental and commerical milestones that could accelerate the energy transition

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