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100% Renewable Energy Possible by 2050, Says Greenpeace Report

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100 percent 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 Energy [R]evolution report author Sven Teske said:

"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 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 2C 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 percent by 2030 renewable target—to name just a few developments—momentum is growing at such a pace Greenpeace could be proven prescient once again.

Greenpeace International executive director, Kumi Naidoo said:

"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 recognize that it can be done, it must be done, and it will be for the benefit of everyone if it is done."

With the UN climate talks in Paris looming, fossil fuel divestment gathering pace worldwide, and the renewable industry booming, there is no fork in the road—there is only forward to a clean energy future or backwards to a dirty fossil fuel past.

Countries from Sweden to Brazil, China to India are already waking up to the opportunities of a clean energy future, and with the right investment, Greenpeace says renewables will triple to 64 percent of global electricity supply—almost two thirds—by as early as 2030.

Such a transition would see CO2 emissions fall from the current 30 gigatonnes a year to 20 gigatonnes by 2030.

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