Beyond Rio: Sustainable energy scenarios for the 21st century



Reaching the economic, environmental and sustainability objectives of all societies requires overcoming several major energy challenges; it necessitates rapid progress in multiple areas. The scenario pathways presented in this paper describe transformative changes toward these goals, taking a broad view of the four main energy challenges faced by society in the 21st century: providing universal access to modern energy for all; reducing the impacts of energy production on human health and the environment; avoiding dangerous climate change; and enhancing energy security. The overarching objective of the paper is to provide policy guidance on how to facilitate the transformation of the energy system to achieve these multiple energy objectives. Particular focus is given to the required pace of the transformation at both the global and regional levels, and to the types of financial and policy measures that will be needed to ensure a successful transition. Synergies and trade-offs between the objectives are identified, and co-benefits quantified. The paper makes an important contribution to the scenario literature by approaching the global transition toward sustainable development in a more integrated, holistic manner than is common in other studies.