In 2018, the IPCC made clear that the world must be kept below 1.5°C global average temperature rise. The special report Global Warming of 1.5°C showed that it becomes increasingly difficult to solve climate change beyond this threshold, and every tenth of a degree increase in temperature risks multiplying impacts. Some believe the 1.5°C goal can only be achieved through large-scale implementation of risky or expensive technologies, such as bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS), direct air capture (DAC), or solar radiation management (SRM). These technologies may play a role in the future, but they cannot be relied upon to solve the current climate crisis.
A groundbreaking climate modeling framework, published in the book Achieving the Paris Climate Agreement Goals (APCAG), shows that it is still possible to stay below 1.5°C with widely available, rapidly scalable solutions. The effort was the culmination of a two-year collaboration with 17 leading scientists at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), two institutes at the German Aerospace Center (DLR), and the University of Melbourne’s Climate & Energy College. The book was released by the prestigious scientific publisher Springer Nature and is now the most downloaded climate text in the publisher’s history.
In order to create a global decarbonization model to achieve the 1.5°C goal, a sophisticated computer simulation of the world’s electrical grids was created with 10 regional and 72 sub-regional energy grids modeled in hourly increments to the year 2050, along with a comprehensive assessment of regionally available renewable resources like wind and solar, minerals required for manufacturing of components, energy efficiency measures, and configurations for meeting projected energy demand and electricity storage for all sectors through 2050. Below are the results for the Non-OECD Asia energy transition:
Non-OECD Asia can reach the 1.5°C goal by evaluating the energy grid in each country. On average, 77% of Southeast Asia has access to electricity, but this varies widely in the region. Myanmar and Cambodia, for example, have 30% access while Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam have close to 100%. In Southeast Asia, 46% of the population still relies on traditional biomass. Even though the outlooks for individual countries deviate widely from the average, the model accounts for the full spectrum of renewable resources and technological development available across the region. Mouse over the charts below at 5-year increments to see data points for each transition.
This region includes Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, American Samoa, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Indonesia, Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, and small islands.To explore the global transition model read the APCAG Executive Briefing.