Oxford University’s 2050 estimates: why we need to accelerate the transition to clean technologies, eliminating fossil fuels

Conclusion of a new Oxford University study on the benefits of rapid decarbonisation, entitled Empirically grounded technology forecasts and the energy transition, published in Joule: accelerating investment in clean technologies, to move away from coal, gas and oil more quickly on a global scale, could save a huge amount of money by 2050, estimated at $12 trillion.

The authors are convinced that achieving a near-zero-emission energy mix by 2050 is feasible by eliminating fossil fuels and focusing on low-carbon technologies.

In addition, the increased competitiveness of a 100% renewable mix would also be achieved by neglecting the economic benefits of avoided costs (health/social/environmental, necessary to repay the damage of natural disasters and extreme events, whose frequency and intensity is increasing due to climate change) due to clean energies.

According to the model, the likelihood of further cost reductions for renewables is so high that our best bet today is to push the green transition.

If, on the other hand, we continue to focus on an economic-energy mix centred on fossil fuels, we will lose trillions of dollars, because this mix will be much more expensive to sustain in the medium to long term.

The possibility of zero emissions by mid-century has become much more concrete: not only from a technical-technological point of view, as several scientific studies show, but also from an economic one.