100 per cent renewable energy by 2050 achievable, necessary – Greenpeace

Intro

100 per cent renewable energy for all is achievable by 2050, creating jobs and cutting fuel costs, according to Greenpeace’s latest Energy [R]evolution report. Researched in collaboration with the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), the report finds that the clean energy transition – including the electricity, transport and heating sectors – will create 20 million jobs over the next 15 years, and – unlike coal – will provide energy access to the one third of people globally that currently have none. Greenpeace and DLR found that the investment necessary to reach a 100 per cent renewable goal will be a considerable US$1 trillion a year. However, this will be more than covered by the US$1.07 trillion in savings on fuel costs alone in the same period, not to mention the vast co-benefits to human health and the avoided costs from climate change-related extreme weather that come with the renewable transition. To date, Greenpeace’s clean energy transition projections have proven to be the amongst the most accurate globally. This updated roadmap plots an ambitious path, but a necessary one for the world to tread if we are to remain below the agreed 2DegC guardrail of average global warming. Renewable potential has been consistently understated, but with overwhelming public support, renewable records being broken all the time in Germany and elsewhere, Tesla about to add storage to the rapidly growing Australian solar market, and California recently approving 50 per cent by 2030 renewable target – to name just a few developments – momentum is growing at such a pace Greenpeace could be proven prescient once again.

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Key Points

  • 100 per cent renewable energy for all is possible by 2050, necessary to avoid catastrophic climate change, and happening faster than many could have imagined. Renewable energy has become mainstream in many countries, and as prices fall dramatically and clean energy jobs grow rapidly, the renewables sector is proving that it can transform power generation, showing that supposed economic or technical barriers are fiction created to mask a lack of will.

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Key Quotes

  • “The solar- and wind industries have come of age, and are cost-competitive with coal. It’s the responsibility of the fossil fuel industry to prepare for these changes in the labour market and make provisions. Governments need to manage the dismantling of the fossil fuel industry which is moving rapidly into irrelevance. Every dollar invested in new fossil fuel projects is high risk capital which might end up as stranded investment.” – Greenpeace Energy [R]evolution report author Sven Teske
  • “We must not let lobbying by vested interests in the fossil fuel industry stand in the way of a switch to renewable energy, the most effective and fairest way to deliver a clean and safe energy future. I would urge all those who say ‘it can’t be done’ to read this report and recognise that it can be done, it must be done, and it will be for the benefit of everyone if it is done.” – Greenpeace International executive director, Kumi Naidoo
  • “For a long time the government and the fossil fuel industry have peddled the argument that renewables can’t keep the lights on if the wind’s not blowing. This hasn’t been based on evidence, but out of date instincts seemingly from staring out the window to see how windy it is. For the first time, we have the evidence showing it is possible to keep the power system working and decarbonise the electricity system. We need to go for renewable energy with the help of new smart technology and reducing demand for power too.” – Chief scientist at Greenpeace, Doug Parr
  • “Over the past 15 years, a number of predictions—by the International Energy Agency, the US Energy Information Administration, and others—have been made about the future of renewable energy growth. Almost every one of these predictions has underestimated the scale of actual growth experienced by the wind and solar markets. Only the most aggressive growth projections, such as Greenpeace’s Energy [R]evolution scenarios, have been close to accurate.” – The Meister Consultants Group
  • “We, the undersigned, believe that global warming can be addressed without adding significant economic costs or burdening taxpayers with more debt. A sensible approach to tackling climate change will not only pay for itself but provide economic benefits to the nations of the world. The aspiration of the Global Apollo Programme is to make renewable energy cheaper than coal within 10 years. We urge the leading nations of the world to commit to this positive, practical initiative by the Paris climate conference in December.” – Open letter from eminent scientists

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