Three actions to change the global energy system and stay below 1.5°C

Solving the climate crisis is not only about technology or financial viability but the will to act now. In a new white paper, energy company Ørsted sets out key ways to raise the global share of renewable energy.

The world must build green power twice as fast as projected to stay below the 1.5C limit, and has the technology to do so.



Devapriyo Das, Ørsted

Global carbon emissions must drop in half by 2030 and reach net zero in 2050 to avoid catastrophic climate change. A key solution is to replace energy from fossil fuels, which contributes 73% of global carbon emissions, with energy harnessed from the sun and the wind. But the global community must get started now on a decade of action to scale-up green energy and help meet these climate goals.

“Transforming from fossil fuels to green energy to stay within 1.5°C is no longer a question of technical feasibility or financial viability. It is about having the ambition and will to make the necessary decisions sooner rather than later,” writes Henrik Poulsen, CEO of Ørsted, in the white paper Taking action to stay within 1.5°C.

Transforming the energy system requires building green power twice as fast as projected towards 2030 and tripling the retirement rate of coal-fired power plants. The global share of green energy must rise dramatically, while energy efficiency is increased. This will take three key actions:

  • Green electrification to phase out fossil fuels: Wind and solar are now cheaper than fossil fuels across more than two-thirds of the world. This cost advantage can spur electrification based on green energy of sectors that rely on fossil fuels, such as transport, industry and buildings. The power sector today accounts for just 20% of global energy use but should account for 50% in 2050, through intensified green electrification.
  • Speed up the build-out of green power: Solar PV, onshore and offshore wind and other renewable energy technologies are already in use, but the world needs to build new green power at greater pace and scale than today. The global green power share must rise to at least 77% by 2050, as compared with 26% today.
  • Accelerate the phase-out of fossil fuels: Policymakers must rapidly phase out fossil fuels, especially coal, which is incompatible with the 1.5°C scenario. Coal-fired plants are also uneconomical: around 35% of coal-fired capacity today has higher operating costs than new renewable power capacity, and that figure could rise to 96% by 2030.

The white paper adds that limiting climate change will need the global community to act at all levels, from governments and companies to investors and individuals. Read more here: Taking action to stay within 1.5°C.

For more about this story contact:
Anders Stougaard, Ørsted Media Relations, +45 99 55 67 39,

About Ørsted
The Ørsted vision is a world that runs entirely on green energy. Ørsted develops, constructs and operates offshore and onshore wind farms and bioenergy plants, and provides energy products to customers.

  • Carbon intensity of the company’s energy generation decreased by 83% in mid-2019, as compared with 2006 levels. By 2025, Ørsted will have reduced its emissions by 98% making the company’s energy production virtually carbon free.
  • 83% of Ørsted’s energy generation was from renewable sources as of September 2019. The target is 99% in 2025.
  • The company is committed to reducing carbon emissions from end use of its products and in its supply chain by 50 percent by 2032, as compared to 2018.
  • Ørsted is ranked the world’s most sustainable energy company and fourth most sustainable company overall in the 2019 Global100 index.



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