Global energy outlook 2021: pathways from Paris

As parts of the world begin to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, a fundamental shift in the global energy system is needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Despite efforts by policymakers in some nations to stimulate a “green” recovery, far greater effort will be required to spur the scale and speed of technological change necessary to limit warming to 1.5° or 2° Celsius by 2100. In this annual report, review and compare—on an apples-to-apples basis—recent long-term projections from some of the world’s leading energy institutions. These projections range widely from those that assume little to no change in energy and climate policies to those that lay out technological feasible yet politically challenging pathways to limit climate change, improve energy access, and reduce air pollution. This year’s report provides particular insight into the differences between pathways aligned with the 1.5° and 2° Celsius climate targets; the effects of COVID-19 on future population, GDP, and energy demand; and the energy intensity of the global economy.