Limiting climate change below a given temperature will require fundamental changes in the current energy system, both in the energy supply and the energy demand sectors. Previous global model-based analyses, however, have focused mostly on energy supply transformations. Therefore, in this study we respond to this knowledge gap by analysing the future energy demand projections in both baseline and climate policy scenarios of global models in detail. We examine the projections for the industry, transport and buildings sectors across four models and three different reference scenarios from the Shared-Socioeconomic Pathway framework by applying a decomposition analysis. We compare the projected demand side mitigation efforts to a more detailed, sector-specific, technology-oriented assessment of demand-side abatement potential for the year 2030. Without climate policy, model-based projections show that baseline emissions can grow rapidly in industry and transport sectors, but are also highly uncertain across models. The decomposition analysis shows that the key uncertainty across the global scenarios is the projected final energy per capita. For modellers therefore there lies a challenge to better understand drivers of future energy efficiency and service demand, that contribute to the projected energy demand. This model enhancement would moreover allow to evaluate policy measures that can impact this relation. The technology assessment estimates that in particular in the transport and buildings sector there is a higher potential to reduce demand-side emissions through energy efficiency improvements than implemented in the scenarios. Improved insulation, higher electric vehicle penetration rates and modal shift for example could reduce final energy demand to lower levels in the short term than currently projected, reducing the dependency on fuel switching required in current scenarios to meet the stringent climate targets.
- Demand sectors
- Energy efficiency
- Global scenarios
- Shared socioeconomic pathways