Eye on the Market

Many Rivers to Cross:
Decarbonization breakthroughs and challenges

by Michael Cembalest
Chairman of Market and Investment Strategy
J.P. Morgan Asset Management

Executive Summary

The cost of solar, wind and energy storage continues to fall, improving cost-emissions tradeoffs for electricity grids. Globally, wind and solar power now provide 5% of electricity generation, alongside 17% from hydro. However, there are still many rivers to cross on the road to decarbonization. While renewables have begun to make steady inroads in electricity generation, challenges remain in terms of backup thermal power needs and transmission. And perhaps more importantly, electricity only accounts for around one third of fossil fuel use and GHG emissions. Renewables have barely made a dent in transportation, industry and building/home direct energy use. In the Executive Summary, we review renewable electricity/primary energy projections to 2040, the how’s and why’s of industrial reliance on fossil fuels, and the US decision on the Paris Climate Accord.

2017 Topics

This year’s topics all touch in some way on decarbonization: milestones, obstacles, misunderstandings, risks and what lies ahead.

Renewable Generation

Falling solar, storage and wind costs: the improving cost/emissions tradeoffs of high renewable electricity grids


Read PDF (6 pages) 

Hydraulic Fracturing

The EPA’s advisory board is asking tough questions about the EPA’s own findings, prolonging the debate on environmental impacts of unconventional oil & gas

Read PDF (7 pages) 

Russian Energy

Russian gas and nuclear exports help with decarbonization, but what geopolitical leverage is Russia gaining over the rest of the world along the way?

Read PDF (3 pages) 

Forest Biomass

Forest biomass is not always as green as it sounds and can worsen CO2 balances, depending on timeframes, feedstocks and energy uses

Read PDF (4 pages) 

College CO2 Neutrality

A lot of college campuses claim that they have reached a state of carbon-neutrality. Only in their own minds…


Read PDF (1 page) 

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