New Delhi: If the world achieves the goal of reducing global emissions to net zero by 2050, Children born today will need to emit 10 times less carbon during their lifetimes than their grandparents.
The metric were draws on historic emissions and population data from the IEA’s Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN-DESA’s) medium-variant projections on Wednesday.
The report said, if the world achieves the goal of reducing global emissions to net zero by 2050 or avoiding the worst effects of climate change – requires a total transformation of how we produce, transport and consume energy.
“The average person born in the 1950s would emit 350 tonnes of CO2 over their lifetime. Babies born in the 2020s would emit on average a mere 34 tonnes of CO2 each in the net zero scenario” it said.
The report further added that the average Baby Boomer – defined by the Pew Center as individuals born between 1950 and 1964 – would emit 10 times more in their lifetime than the average member of Generation Alpha, which refers to those born today or in the coming years.
Generation Z, born between 1997 and 2012, would average 110 tonnes of CO2 over their lifetimes, if the world manages to reach net zero by 2050.
The report said the countries with historically high per capita emissions, such as in North America and Europe, need to achieve much larger generational reductions than countries with historically low per capita emissions, such as India.
“In our Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario, the lifetime CO2 footprints of individuals born in the United States or European Union in the 1950s will be around 15 times greater than the footprints of their descendants born in the 2020s” it said.
Talking about India, Scenario, the report said the lifetime CO2 footprints of Indian individuals born in the 1950s will be only 3.5 times greater than those of their descendants born in the 2020s, while in China they are 4 times greater.
About the youth’s exposure to climate change, the report pointed out the Today’s youth are more exposed to climate damage than their parents, motivating many of them to tackle the challenge of reducing CO2 footprints.
“Adolescents are engaging with climate science and policy more actively than previous generations, participating keenly in climate forums” it said.
Future generations will need far more low-carbon energy infrastructure and services than are available today,– such as power plants, cement factories and steel mills – have long lifetimes, with serious implications for future decades.
It also said the Younger generations have the most at stake, and they also have the most to gain from successful energy transitions.