Arcadis, the leading global design & consultancy organization for natural and built assets, published today a new research report called “Supercharging Net Zero”, which uses economic modeling to examine how the international energy sector can lead the way to achieving net zero greenhouse emissions. The report confirms that, if the global energy sector fails to rapidly decarbonize and increase its generation capacity, the world will lose the race to net zero.

Strong and sustained reductions in CO2-emissions and other greenhouse gases are key to limiting climate change, as was confirmed in the report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) launched in August of this year. Human actions still have the potential to determine the future course of climate. Arcadis believes the energy sector has the key role to play in catalyzing the change. That is why, today, it released Supercharging Net Zero.

This new report uses economic modeling to simulate the conditions necessary for the global energy sector to rapidly shift from fossil fuels to renewable power generation. It focuses on how ten key markets would need to contribute to a global energy transition, drawing out takeaways that can support in guiding the transition to renewable energy and decarbonize with a heightened sense of urgency. “The energy sector holds the key that can unlock the solutions we need to tackle climate change”, the report says. It confirms that now is the time to act.

Supercharging Net Zero addresses important implications of transitioning to a net zero world in time to contain global warming to within 1.5 degrees. All countries in this report would need to halve energy sector emissions by 2029, most of them within the next four years. At the same time, the global energy sector would need to dramatically expand its electricity generation capacity to meet growing demand. Approximately €6 trillion of investments are needed to realize this, for example in renewable energy technology and grid expansion. The world needs to invest more – and faster – than it is currently. All these investments would lead to net benefits to society and the economy. If done right, the energy transition could bring down the cost of electricity and free up billions of euros in disposable income.

Alexis Haass, Chief Sustainability Officer at Arcadis: It’s time for an accelerated energy transition. Creating a net zero energy sector is essential because this will allow the rest of the economy to decarbonize. This is how we can bend the curve of the climate crisis back toward a 1.5 degree world. We think Supercharging Net Zero illustrates the magnitude of the challenge that we are facing. At the same time, it demonstrates where opportunities lie. We hope this report helps to shape the discussion around the energy transition and that it creates a sense of urgency with key stakeholders in politics and in the energy sector”.

About the study

Supercharging Net Zero investigates how the global energy sector – with a spotlight on ten key markets – would need to transition over the short, medium and long term to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The study utilizes a dynamic, computer-based macroeconomic model of the world’s economic and energy systems (the E3ME model), highlighting data from ten markets (Australia, Belgium, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, the Netherlands, the UK and the US) to illustrate how – and when – the global energy sector must transition. The figures in this report are not a prediction of what will happen; they are the result of a simulation which indicates what the energy sector would need to do to help the wider economy achieve net zero.

Download the report (on request)