IRENA: Doubling Today's Share of Renewables Would Boost Global GDP by $1.3 Trillion
While investors and global leaders crunch numbers this week to stabilize the global economy, experts are offering hard-hitting numbers linking renewables to a prosperous future.
Just a few days ahead of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the International Renewable Energy Agency revealed that if the world doubled its current market share of renewable energy to 36 percent by 2030, global GDP could experience a boost of up to 1.1 percent.
This figure would represent the equivalent of $1.3 trillion in growth—more than the combined economies of Chile, South Africa and Switzerland—and would put the “Paris climate goals within reach."
The findings come as new figures show renewables investments hit a new high last year with China and the U.S. topping the table.
Yet other regions are falling behind and could risk missing out: former clean energy leader Europe saw renewable investment fall to an eight-year low; and Australia is still turning a blind eye to the millions of potential jobs created and hundreds of billions of fossil fuel import dollars saved through renewables.
Despite efforts to stagnate the ongoing transition towards a renewables-only future, upcoming Davos meetings could act as a turning point for world leaders, setting apart those who are ahead of the curve and those who aren't.
- Climate is at the top of the global agenda and is there to stay. Up until last year, climate change had been noticeably absent from the Davos agenda. Since then, a considerable number of sessions made climate change the focal point of their presentations in 2015 and during 2016 meetings—just one month after delivering the Paris Agreement—climate will once again be a topline issue for world leaders.
- Fossils are falling, but not fast enough. During last month's Paris climate meetings, world leaders agreed to widen the way for a clean, safe future. While the momentum encapsulated in the Paris Agreement is in the process of “implementation and action," replacing fossil fuels with renewables swiftly will allow the world to benefit from an energy transformation that protects millions of lives, creates new jobs, saves billions of dollars and tackles energy poverty.
- Forward-looking economies around the world are growing and going green. 2015 saw renewable energy reach a record $329.3 billion in investment worldwide. Countries from China to Chile, South Africa to Brazil are reaping the benefits of clean energy, but former leader Europe's often uncertain or changing national policies are a shot in the foot for jobs and growth. As leaders meet in Switzerland, those with real renewables ambition translated into strong energy policy will gain the most for their country's citizens and its economy.
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California is bracing for rare January wildfires this week amid damaging Santa Ana winds coupled with unusually hot and dry winter weather.
High winds, gusting up to 80- to 90 miles per hour in some parts of the state, are expected to last through Wednesday evening. Nearly the entire state has been in a drought for months, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, which, alongside summerlike temperatures, has left vegetation dry and flammable.
Utilities Southern California Edison and PG&E, which serves the central and northern portions of the state, warned it may preemptively shut off power to hundreds of thousands of customers to reduce the risk of electrical fires sparked by trees and branches falling on live power lines. The rare January fire conditions come on the heels of the worst wildfire season ever recorded in California, as climate change exacerbates the factors causing fires to be more frequent and severe.
California is also experiencing the most severe surge of COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, with hospitals and ICUs over capacity and a stay-at-home order in place. Wildfire smoke can increase the risk of adverse health effects due to COVID, and evacuations forcing people to crowd into shelters could further spread the virus.
As reported by AccuWeather:
In the atmosphere, air flows from high to low pressure. The setup into Wednesday is like having two giant atmospheric fans working as a team with one pulling and the other pushing the air in the same direction.
Normally, mountains to the north and east of Los Angeles would protect the downtown which sits in a basin. However, with the assistance of the offshore storm, there will be areas of gusty winds even in the L.A. Basin. The winds may get strong enough in parts of the basin to break tree limbs and lead to sporadic power outages and sparks that could ignite fires.
"Typically, Santa Ana winds stay out of downtown Los Angeles and the L.A. Basin, but this time, conditions may set up just right to bring 30- to 40-mph wind gusts even in those typically calm condition areas," said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Mike Doll.
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By Monir Ghaedi
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to keep most of Europe on pause, the EU aims for a breakthrough in its space program. The continent is seeking more than just a self-sufficient space industry competitive with China and the U.S.; the industry must also fit into the European Green Deal.
European satellites continue to provide data on climate change.