Limiting the global temperature rise to well below 2°C this century is one of the defining challenges of our age. Two-thirds of greenhouse gas emissions come from energy-related sources. This makes the transition to sustainable energy the decisive factor in tackling climate change.
Renewable energy, together with energy efficiency, form the cornerstone of the world’s mitigation strategy. They represent a safe, reliable, affordable and immediately deployable pathway to a low-carbon future that can achieve over 90 percent of the energy-related CO2 emission reductions needed to meet climate goals. Avoiding the worst effects of global warming will require us to source at least 85 percent of global power from renewables, with a minimum of two-thirds of total energy from renewable sources – wind, solar, geothermal, hydro, bioenergy and the burgeoning tidal technology – by 2050. This means that we must utilise the solutions available to stimulate systemic transformation towards a digitalised, decentralised and decarbonised energy paradigm.
In addition to mitigating climate change, such an energy transition could also deliver long-term economic and social benefits. IRENA’s Global Energy Transformation: A Roadmap to 2050 shows that it would boost global GDP by one percent by 2050 and create millions of new jobs. Last year alone, the renewable energy sector created half a million new jobs, reaching a total of 10.3 million.
Renewables are the key to a climate-safe world
The deployment of renewable technologies can stimulate new economic activity; creating jobs, mitigating stranded assets and giving rise to cleaner, healthier environments. The benefits deriving from energy transformation significantly outweigh its costs. In economic terms, the cost savings resulting from improved human health, lower air pollution and avoided environmental damage by 2050 equal up to five times the additional investment needed to make the transition. If we were to meet our targets by 2050 nearly 40 million people would be directly employed in renewable energy and energy efficiency. And the global economy would enjoy a $52 trillion cumulative GDP gain.
Renewables are the key to a climate-safe world. Far from having to choose between mitigating climate change and economic growth, it is clearer than ever that an opportunity exists to ramp up investment in low-carbon technologies and shift the global development paradigm from one of scarcity, inequality and competition to one of shared prosperity – in our lifetimes. If we take bold decisions now, a sustainable energy future is within reach.
Original source: IRENA
Published on 26 November 2018