December 3, 2021

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Climate, COP26 |  Norwegian experts: This is the way to reach the climate goal

Climate, COP26 | Norwegian experts: This is the way to reach the climate goal

Norwegian experts on the global energy system in 2050: the persistence of fossil and nuclear energy sources.


Are ambitions realistic at this week’s Glasgow Climate Summit? Yes, according to experts at DNV (The Norwegian Veritas Group) in Hovik outside Oslo.

It’s about time it’s the scarcity factor, not capital, said Remi Eriksen, DNV’s CEO, when the company came out with its analysis last week.

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The path to the climate goal

In the “Path to Net Zero Emissions” report, the DNV describes the potential path to the goal; To limit global warming to 1.5°C:

  • North America and Europe should become carbon neutral by 2042.
  • China must reduce its emissions by 98% by 2050.
  • The world’s industrialized nations should become carbon-neutral by 2042, then carbon-negative.
  • Africa and India are unlikely to reduce their emissions by more than 23 and 64 percent by 2050, respectively.
  • Today’s technologies are sufficient to achieve zero emissions targets, but require a significant increase in the level.
  • In a zero-emissions society, electricity will cover more than half (51 percent) of energy needs, and wind and solar energy will account for 86 percent of this. Hydrogen has a 13 percent share. Fossil energy sources will continue to be used and will make up 21 percent of energy consumption (8 percent from oil, 10 percent from natural gas, and 3 percent from coal).
  • Carbon sequestration should become an important part of the energy system by 2050.
  • Nuclear power can play a role, but it is expensive compared to renewable energy.
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It is necessary to capture carbon

DNV strikes a cautiously optimistic tone in its report and notes that the international community can achieve a lot when it comes to reducing emissions and getting closer to climate goals, but it requires the necessary measures now during the Climate Summit.

Have you thought about what and which, if so, carbon sequestration methods are promising?

In our model, we used carbon capture extensively in both process emissions, power plant emissions, and industrial emissions, as well as electricity production from coal, gas, and bioenergy. The latter produces negative emissions and is therefore very important for Europe, for example, which should have net negative emissions after 2042, says DNV’s Director of Research for Energy Transformation, Ambassador Alvec, to Nettavisen.

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Our last hope?

The COP26 Climate Summit is touted as our last and best hope for achieving the 1.5 degree goal. Some have questioned why nuclear power is not mentioned as a larger part of the solution. Political scientist Ralph Schuellehammer at the private Webster University Vienna in Austria is one of them. In an interview with the magazine Newsweek and In September, he claimed that there were only ideological reasons for closing nuclear power plants and replacing them in some places with coal power.

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– This leads to a dramatic lack of power, says Schuellehammer and cites Sweden and Germany as examples.

In its latest report, DNV also addresses the issue of nuclear power. Their conclusion is that nuclear energy will not play a prominent role “because it is too expensive compared to renewable energy”.

Nuclear power is more expensive

Would it be unrealistic to increase investment in nuclear energy, even if it was politically feasible?

– In our model, we found that nuclear energy is more expensive than renewable energy with battery storage, and renewable energy with storage meets the world’s needs for electricity available at all times, within the region and the physical constraints offered by the resource situation. Then we believe that renewables are a better and more realistic solution than nuclear power, which in addition to high costs takes a decade to build. On the other hand, existing nuclear power plants must be expanded to the extent that they can be done in a safe manner, says Alvik in an email response.