The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
100% Renewable Energy Possible by 2050, Says Greenpeace 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.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Last week, the Peruvian Palm Oil Producers' Association (JUNPALMA) promised to enter into an agreement for sustainable and deforestation-free palm oil production. The promise was secured by the U.S. based National Wildlife Federation (NWF) in collaboration with the local government, growers and the independent conservation organization Sociedad Peruana de Ecodesarrollo.
The rallying cry to build it again and to build it better than before is inspiring after a natural disaster, but it may not be the best course of action, according to new research published in the journal Science.
"Faced with global warming, rising sea levels, and the climate-related extremes they intensify, the question is no longer whether some communities will retreat—moving people and assets out of harm's way—but why, where, when, and how they will retreat," the study begins.
The researchers suggest that it is time to rethink retreat, which is often seen as a last resort and a sign of weakness. Instead, it should be seen as the smart option and an opportunity to build new communities.
"We propose a reconceptualization of retreat as a suite of adaptation options that are both strategic and managed," the paper states. "Strategy integrates retreat into long-term development goals and identifies why retreat should occur and, in doing so, influences where and when."
The billions of dollars spent to rebuild the Jersey Shore and to create dunes to protect from future storms after Superstorm Sandy in 2012 may be a waste if sea level rise inundates the entire coastline.
"There's a definite rhetoric of, 'We're going to build it back better. We're going to win. We're going to beat this. Something technological is going to come and it's going to save us,'" said A.R. Siders, an assistant professor with the disaster research center at the University of Delaware and lead author of the paper, to the New York Times. "It's like, let's step back and think for a minute. You're in a fight with the ocean. You're fighting to hold the ocean in place. Maybe that's not the battle we want to pick."
Rethinking retreat could make it a strategic, efficient, and equitable way to adapt to the climate crisis, the study says.
Dr. Siders pointed out that it has happened before. She noted that in the 1970s, the small town of Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin moved itself out of the flood plain after one too many floods. The community found and reoriented the business district to take advantage of highway traffic and powered it entirely with solar energy, as the New York Times reported.
That's an important lesson now that rising sea levels pose a catastrophic risk around the world. Nearly 75 percent of the world's cities are along shorelines. In the U.S. alone coastline communities make up nearly 40 percent of the population— more than 123 million people, which is why Siders and her research team are so forthright about the urgency and the complexities of their findings, according to Harvard Magazine.
Some of those complexities include, coordinating moves across city, state or even international lines; cultural and social considerations like the importance of burial grounds or ancestral lands; reparations for losses or damage to historic practices; long-term social and psychological consequences; financial incentives that often contradict environmental imperatives; and the critical importance of managing retreat in a way that protects vulnerable and poor populations and that doesn't exacerbate past injustices, as Harvard Magazine reported.
If communities could practice strategic retreats, the study says, doing so would not only reduce the need for people to choose among bad options, but also improve their circumstances.
"It's a lot to think about," said Siders to Harvard Magazine. "And there are going to be hard choices. It will hurt—I mean, we have to get from here to some new future state, and that transition is going to be hard.…But the longer we put off making these decisions, the worse it will get, and the harder the decisions will become."
To help the transition, the paper recommends improved access to climate-hazard maps so communities can make informed choices about risk. And, the maps need to be improved and updated regularly, the paper said as the New York Times reported.
"It's not that everywhere should retreat," said Dr. Siders to the New York Times. "It's that retreat should be an option. It should be a real viable option on the table that some places will need to use."
Leaked documents show that Jair Bolsonaro's government intends to use the Brazilian president's hate speech to isolate minorities living in the Amazon region. The PowerPoint slides, which democraciaAbierta has seen, also reveal plans to implement predatory projects that could have a devastating environmental impact.
Last week we received positive news on the border wall's imminent construction in an Arizona wildlife refuge. The Trump administration delayed construction of the wall through about 60 miles of federal wildlife preserves.