US climate czar John Kerry triggered an online backlash over this issue this weekend by saying to the BBC: “I am told by scientists that 50% of the reductions we have to make to get to net zero are going to come from technologies that we don’t yet have.”
For its part, the IEA described them as technologies that are “currently at the demonstration or prototype phase” or “not yet commercially available.”
But the report makes clear the world doesn’t have a choice between innovation or deployment. It lays out a timeline showing just how fast we also need to build out the technologies we already have to meet the midcentury goals.
By 2030, the world must add more than 1,000 gigawatts of wind and solar power capacity annually, which is just shy of the total electricity system in the US today. Electric passenger vehicles need to reach 60% of new sales by 2030, while half of heavy trucks purchased must be EVs by 2035. And by 2045, half of global heat demand must be met with heat pumps, which can run on clean electricity.
In short, we need to make rapid progress, on everything, all at once.