Low-carbon transition patterns in the BRICS countries - comparing global energy system models to national analysis (C5)

Hydro electric power plant in Brazil

Low-carbon transition patterns in the BRICS countries – comparing global energy system models to national analysis (C5)

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Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) accounted for almost 40% of global energy-related CO2 emissions in 2012. Since 2000, these emissions have increased in all of these five countries. For China and India, the two biggest emitters, energy related CO2 emissions more than tripled and doubled, respectively, since 2000, driven largely by development (as defined through the metric of increased GDP per person), which has been offset to a limited extent by improvements in energy efficiency.

According to the IEA’s “current policies” scenario (which does not take into account Paris pledges), the BRICS countries could account for almost half of global energy-related CO2 emissions by 2040, with India and China alone responsible for 40% of the global total (more than 80% of the BRICS total). The feasibility of mitigating these emissions is therefore of central importance to the overall feasibility of avoiding dangerous levels of climate change.

The key question considered in this study is how for these regions a least-cost global mitigation pathway developed in the AVOID 2 programme, which achieves a below 2°C temperature change in 2100 (with 50% likelihood), the level of technological change compares to the maximum level of ambition proposed by these countries’ own analytical and policy groups, whether it be in long-term scenario analysis or nearer term policy and target proposals. The focus of this study is primarily on India and China, since, as well as their accounting for over 80% of current and future projected BRICS emissions, these regions are represented explicitly in the TIAM-Grantham energy systems model which is the central tool of analysis for the AVOID 2 decarbonisation feasibility analysis. The main sources of country-level analysis used to compare to the TIAM-Grantham outputs are: the UN’s Deep Decarbonisation Pathways project, which uses a range of country studies to assess the most rapid emissions reduction pathways possible; country 2050 energy/emissions calculators, whose most ambitious scenarios are used as a guide to what these countries’ analytical groups deem the maximum feasible level of technology deployment by 2050; and where available specific near-term (mostly to 2020) technology deployment targets stated in these countries’ own policy plans.