GHG emissions could rise 50 percent by 2050 – OECD

Posted on March 16, 2012 by

According to Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), global GHG emissions could rise 50% by 2050 without the most ambitious climate policies. The world is moving towards increasing consumptive habits resulting in unsustainable use of natural sources. Our fossil fuels continue to dominate the energy mix now and projected for the same in subsequent years.

Unless the global energy mix changes, fossil fuels will supply about 85% of energy demand in 2050, implying a 50% increase in greenhouse gas emissions and worsening urban air pollution,” the OECD said in its environment outlook to 2050.

Total greenhouse gas emissions by region_1970 to 2050

Total greenhouse gas emissions (by region) 1970 to 2050

According to OECD, if no new policy actions regarding climate change mitigation are taken, within the next few decades we will experience completely worst environmental conditions and change in climatic patterns of the earth. Snapshot of key points are discussed below;

Without further policies, by 2030;

  • The global economy in 2050 will be four times larger than today and the world will use around 80% more energy.
  • Fossil fuels such as oil, coal and gas will make up 85% of energy sources. Renewables, including bio fuels, are forecast to make up 10 % and nuclear the rest.
  • Due to such dependence on fossils fuels, carbon dioxide emissions from energy use are expected to grow by 70%.
  • Global emissions of greenhouse gases are projected to grow by a further 37%, and 52% to 2050. This could result in an increase in global temperature over pre-industrial levels in the range of 1.7-2.4° Celsius by 2050


  • Health impacts of air pollution will increase worldwide
  • Water scarcity will worsen due to unsustainable use and management of the resource as well as climate change
  • A considerable number of today’s known animal and plant species are likely to be extinct, largely due to expanding infrastructure and agriculture, as well as climate change
  • The greatest environmental impacts will be felt by developing countries, which are less equipped to manage and adapt

It has been suggested that, to prevent the worst effects of climate change and subsequent warming of earth, international climate change mitigation actions should start in 2013. May be global carbon market is a good option. In addition, the energy sector should transform to low carbon and most advanced technologies. However, based on COP 17, at Durban, a new international climate deal not come into force and hence need concrete step ahead.

Reference: OECD Environmental Outlook to 2030