Climate change is the most pressing issue facing the world today. With the five warmest years on record happening from 2015 to 2019, the earth is showing a consistent warming trend and an accelerating pace in some of the observed changes in the climate system. Frequent and or more intense extreme weather and climate events are associated with disasters inducing increasing damage and loss. Through unremitting efforts of the United Nations and the international community, the Paris Agreement entered into force in 2016. UN Secretary-General António Guterres urged all countries to strengthen their political determination and enhance resolute actions to achieve the temperature control goals set in the Paris Agreement .
Since fossil energy combustion is the main source of global greenhouse gases (GHGs) emissions, accelerating de-carbonization of energy systems plays a fundamental and decisive role in addressing climate change. Global Energy Interconnection (GEI) is an innovative energy transition concept aiming to build a global platform for promoting the large-scale development, allocation and use of clean energy in the world by adopting advanced technologies such as smart grid, UHV power transmission, clean energy, and energy storage.
The Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization (GEIDCO), the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) co-authored the Research Report on Global Energy Interconnection for Addressing Climate Change (the “Report”). This Report includes data and analysis from the report on the State of the Global Climate 2015-2019 prepared by WMO for the September 2019 United Nations Climate Action Summit, and from Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports, as well as contributions from WMO on climate services for the energy sector. IIASA carries out the GEI scenario simulation through global energy system model using the Integrated Assessment Modelling framework MESSAGEix-GLOBIOM developed by IIASA. GEIDCO is responsible for the overall design of GEI mitigation scenario including mitigation technology selection, mitigation mechanism design, and regional mitigation proposal. GEIDCO also coordinates the report overall, including formulation of the report’s conclusions and suggestions. The Report consists of seven chapters. Chapter 1 describes the scientific facts and impacts of climate change and analyzes its status quo and actions as well as the key role of energy transition in addressing it. Climate service for energy is needed to support the transition to clean energy. This chapter is jointly written by WMO and GEIDCO. Chapter 2 explains the framework and theory of GEI mitigation and puts forward its mechanisms and pathways. Chapter 3 deals with the quantitative analysis of the characteristics and mitigation value of the GEI system by using a comprehensive assessment modelling framework in conjunction with energy system and power system optimization models. Chapter 4 focuses on the GEI mitigation technology portfolio, as well as the development trend and combined use of such technologies as clean replacement, electricity replacement, grid interconnection, energy efficiency enhancement, and carbon removal. Chapter 3 and 4 are jointly written by IIASA and GEIDCO. Chapter 5 studies and proposes key mitigation actions through energy interconnection in different continents based on their respective conditions of climate, resource endowment, and energy and power development. Chapter 6 analyzes the contribution of GEI to economy, society, climate, environment, health and sustainable development. Chapter 7 suggests some innovative mechanisms for addressing climate change, including linking mitigation targets with integrated policy instruments, mobilizing finance resources through the electricity-carbon market, accelerating major projects’ implementation by an innovative mode of “electricity, mining, metallurgy, industry and trade” and adopting new approaches for universal power access to enhance climate resilience.
The Report comprehensively studies the energy system and mitigation technology of GEI in 2°C and 1.5°C scenarios, it indicates that GEI is a technologically advanced, economically efficient, win-win, and systematic approach to achieving 2°C and 1.5°C temperature control goals. Building GEI will not only effectively address climate change, but also significantly promote economic growth, social development, reduction in climate losses, environmental protection, human health, and facilitate the implementation of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Energy interconnection roadmaps at the continent level and innovative mechanisms will help stakeholders accelerate their climate actions.
The research results by the Report show the urgent need for actions by the international community to engage in clean energy transition and make unremitting efforts to achieve the temperature control goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.