Scenarios for Getting to Zero CO2 Emissions. Nebojsa Nakicenovic

Deputy Director General and Deputy CEO of the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and Professor of Energy Economics at the Vienna University of Technology, Nebojsa Nakicenovic (“Naki”) presents a scenario from The Global Energy Assessment, wherein over 300 experts from around the world collaborated to develop multiple visions of how the world can meet a zero-emissions goal in 50 years. 

While we can not predict the disruptive technologies that will make elimination of CO2 emissions possible, he says, the look back through history that he provides in this presentation inspires confidence that those changes will occur.  Hastening them will require massive investments in research and development similar to those that have yielded huge advances in more granular technologies like photo-voltaics and LED technology.  The biggest opportunities, he says, lie in accommodating systemic changes to facilitate advances in areas like construction and transportation. As an example of the broader impacts that can result, he points out that the automobile didn’t impact society nearly as much as the systems built to accommodate its use.

Naki’s research interests include long-term patterns of technological change, economic development and response to climate change and, in particular, the evolution of energy, mobility, and information and communication technologies. He is a member of the United Nations Secretary General High-Level Technical Group on Sustainable Energy for All, the Global Carbon Project, and the Earth Institute of Columbia University. He was Director of the Global Energy Assessment (GEA), and a Coordinating Lead Author of multiple IPCC reports. More information about Naki’s interests and the work of the IIASA is on the institute website, here.

July 12, 2014