Ten key short-term sectoral benchmarks to limit warming to 1.5°C

Takeshi Kuramochi, Niklas Höhne, Michiel Schaeffer, Jasmin Cantzler, Bill Hare, Yvonne Deng, Sebastian Sterl, Markus Hagemann, Marcia Rocha, Paola Andrea Yanguas-Parra, Goher Ur Rehman Mir, Lindee Wong, Tarik El-Laboudy, Karlien Wouters, Delphine Deryng, Kornelis Blok

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


This article identifies and quantifies the 10 most important benchmarks for climate action to be taken by 2020–2025 to keep the window open for a 1.5°C-consistent GHG emission pathway. We conducted a comprehensive review of existing emissions scenarios, scanned all sectors and the respective necessary transitions, and distilled the most important short-term benchmarks for action in line with the long-term perspective of the required global low-carbon transition. Owing to the limited carbon budget, combined with the inertia of existing systems, global energy economic models find only limited pathways to stay on track for a 1.5°C world consistent with the long-term temperature goal of the Paris Agreement. The identified benchmarks include: Sustain the current growth rate of renewables and other zero and low-carbon power generation until 2025 to reach 100% share by 2050; No new coal power plants, reduce emissions from existing coal fleet by 30% by 2025; Last fossil fuel passenger car sold by 2035–2050; Develop and agree on a 1.5°C-consistent vision for aviation and shipping; All new buildings fossil-free and near-zero energy by 2020; Increase building renovation rates from less than 1% in 2015 to 5% by 2020; All new installations in emissions-intensive sectors low-carbon after 2020, maximize material efficiency; Reduce emissions from forestry and other land use to 95% below 2010 levels by 2030, stop net deforestation by 2025; Keep agriculture emissions at or below current levels, establish and disseminate regional best practice, ramp up research; Accelerate research and planning for negative emission technology deployment. Key policy insights These benchmarks can be used when designing policy options that are 1.5°C, Paris Agreement consistent. They require technology diffusion and sector transformations at a large scale and high speed, in many cases immediate introduction of zero-carbon technologies, not marginal efficiency improvements. For most benchmarks we show that there are signs that the identified needed transitions are possible: in some specific cases it is already happening.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-305
Number of pages19
JournalClimate Policy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • 1.5°C
  • Benchmarking
  • COP21
  • mitigation scenarios
  • Paris Agreement
  • technological change
  • transition

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