According to a new report from Greenpeace, the world could be 100% renewable by 2050, and 85% renewable within just 15 years.
According to the non-profit’s 2015 (R)evolution report, the path to 100% renewable is cost-neutral for the first time ever. Not only that, no new technological advancements are needed at this point to make the vision a reality.
The report is the latest in a series that has offered the most accurate projections of any major analysis, worldwide.
Emily Rochen of Greenpeace said:
“It’s basically political will. The primary premise of the Energy [R]evolution scenario is we have all of the solutions already on the table to get there.”
Under the scenario outlined in the report, global CO2 emissions would be stabilized by 2020 and would approach zero in 2050. Of course, during this period, fossil fuels would be phased out starting with the most carbon-intensive sources.
The report predicts that by 2030, two-thirds of the word’s electricity could come from renewable sources such as wind and solar.
It’s been shared many times before that transitioning to renewable energy is the only way to significantly decrease carbon emissions. In the United States, for example, a third of emissions come from the electricity sector. Another quarter comes from transportation, and industry – largely through electricity use and fossil fuel consumption – accounts for another 20%.
As part of its participation in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Untied States has committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 26-28% by 2030. And in December, global leaders will meet in Paris with the intention to develop a broad climate treaty to prevent average global temperatures from climbing past 2°C.
Some countries are already doing their part to benefit the environment and become carbon-neutral as fast as possible. Denmark, for example, produced 140% of its energy needs via wind power in one day, and Germany recently generated 78% of its electricity from renewable sources.
Although economic considerations are often cited as the major hurdle to transitioning to renewable energy, the report relays how the shift is will actually benefit the job market. According to the Greenpeace report, at every point during the transition there would be more energy jobs than before. Rochen also pointed out that during the economic downturn, the solar industry experienced a double-digit job growth. She said,“Renewable energy definitely means more on the jobs front.”
By 2030, renewable energy will account for 87 percent of the jobs in the energy sector, the report says. The authors estimate there will be 9.7 million people working in solar PV.
“The cost of developing renewable energy sources has fallen steeply in recent years, and, at this point, the fuel savings are “cost neutral” with investment in renewable energy,” Rochon said.That’s incredible news, especially considering that worldwide, governments pay $5.3 trillion annually to subsidize fossil fuels, according to a study by the International Energy Agency.
“Despite the fact that the playing field isn’t level and is tilted in the favor of fossil fuels, renewable energy sources are still winning,” Rochen said.Think Progress shares that policies that support renewable energy, such as federal tax credits and net metering for residential solar installations, are considered critical drivers of renewable industries in the United States. The solar industry’s tax credit is set to expire at the end of 2016. None of the fossil fuel tax credits are set to expire at this time.
As Rochen says, a renewable energy future is within reach. Now, it’s really up to our political leaders to say, “Yes, we can do the work to get there.”