Renewable energy could provide 100% of the world's electricity by 2050, according to a new report from Greenpeace International.
The report, Energy [R]evolution 2015, lays out a pathway to 100% renewable energy, ending greenhouse-gas emissions, phasing out nuclear energy, and making redundant new oil expeditions in the arctic and deep sea waters. As a result, the report also finds that wind and solar employment figures would benefit. For example, the report finds that the solar photovoltaic industry could employ 9.7 million people by 2030. In the U.S. alone, the report finds, there are already twice as many solar workers as coal miners.
The analysis, researched in collaboration with the German Aerospace Center (DLR), shows that the transition to renewables would create jobs and be cost competitive.
Within 15 years, renewables' share of electricity could triple from 21% to 64% – which would ensure almost two thirds of global electricity supply is delivered from clean energy. Despite the rapid development of countries such as Brazil, China and India, greenhouse-gas emissions could fall from the current 30 gigatons per year to 20 gigatons by 2030.
The report comes ahead of the United Nations climate summit in Paris, at which world leaders will discuss tactics to combat climate change.
Though the report finds that the shift to renewables is feasible, it does makes some pretty big assumptions. For example, to make the transition to 100%, the report finds that $64.6 trillion is needed by 2050 – or about $1.6 trillion annually. Nonetheless, Greenpeace maintains that the clean energy pricetag would be more than covered by future savings in fuel costs. Because renewables don't require fuel, the savings would more than cover the costs of the investment, the group contends.
More than money, however, the group maintains that political will is its biggest impediment.
‘We must not let the fossil fuel industry's lobbying stand in the way of a switch to renewable energy, the most effective and fairest way to deliver a clean and safe energy future,’ says Kumi Naidoo, executive director of Greenpeace International. ‘I urge all those who say "it can't be done' to read this report and recognize that it can be done and must be done for the benefit of people around the world.’
Greenpeace has been publishing its Energy [R]evolution scenarios since 2005, more recently in collaboration with the scientific community, particularly the DLR. Though its predictions on the potential and market growth of renewable energy have once seemed fanciful or unrealistic, they have proven to be more accurate than those produced by the International Energy Agency, Goldman Sachs and the U.S. Department of Energy, the group notes.
To read the report's executive summary, click here.