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Current Energy Plans Aren’t Enough to Meet Paris Goals, But an Amped Up Transition Is Possible
The world needs to speed up its transition to renewable energy by a factor of six if it wants to meet the goals set out in the Paris agreement to prevent the worst impacts of climate change, a new study by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) concluded.
The study, called Global Energy Transformation: A Roadmap to 2050, was announced at the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue Tuesday and Wednesday, Clean Technica reported.
The report found that the Paris goal of keeping global temperatures well below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels was "technically feasible" but that current energy plans by world governments would not do the job. Indeed, an unaltered approach would spend the global carbon dioxide emissions budget in 20 years.
Current plans, labeled "Reference Case" in the graph, will exceed in 20 years the carbon dioxide emissions budget to keep global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius. IRENA
However, the report said that, with effort, 95 percent of the necessary emissions reductions could be achieved by increased reliance on renewable sources and increased energy efficiency.
For this to happen, renewable energy would have to account for two-thirds of global energy consumption by 2050; in 2015, it accounted for 18 percent. Further, renewable energy's share in the power sector would have to rise from one-quarter to 85 percent in the same time period, and global energy demand would have to fall by two-thirds by 2050 as well.
IRENA called its plan for increasing renewable energy and energy efficiency by 2050 REmap and specified country-by-country targets. It found that renewable energy could make up 67 percent of China's energy consumption by that date, 70 percent of the EU's, and two-thirds or more of India's and the U.S's.
Graphs showing how global energy efficiency and renewable share of total final energy consumption (TFEC) would have to increase by 2050 according to IRENA's REmap plan. IRENA
IRENA said the REmap plan is possible with available and affordable technologies, but it would still require an investment. The total dollar amount put in to the energy system would have to increase by 30 percent by 2050.
Fortunately, however, IRENA concluded its plan would be a net win for the environment and the economy. The energy transition would cost $1.7 trillion a year by 2050, but save $6 trillion a year in environmental and healthcare costs. Further, the investment in new technologies would stimulate the world's economy and improve both Gross Domestic Product and employment. Overall, clean energy would create 11.6 million more jobs than would be lost due to the decline of the fossil fuel industry.
IRENA's plan is a win-win, but it requires swift action.
"The world's actions today will be crucial to create a sustainable energy system. Ultimately, the path to secure a better future depends on pursuing a positive, inclusive, economically, socially and environmentally beneficial energy transformation," IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin wrote in the report's foreword.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Jennifer Molidor, PhD
Climate change, habitat loss and pollution are overwhelming our planet. Thankfully, these enormous threats are being met by a bold new wave of environmental activism.
Trump Makes Strange Claim About Water Efficient Toilets: 'People Are Flushing Toilets 10 Times, 15 Times'
President Donald Trump mocked water-efficiency standards in new constructions last week. Trump said, "People are flushing toilets 10 times, 15 times, as opposed to once. They end up using more water. So, EPA is looking at that very strongly, at my suggestion." Trump asked the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for a federal review of those standards since, he claimed with no evidence, that they are making bathrooms unusable and wasting water, as NBC News reported.
By Carey Gillam
Former Monsanto Chairman and CEO Hugh Grant will have to testify in person at a St. Louis-area trial set for January in litigation brought by a cancer-stricken woman who claims her disease was caused by exposure to the company's Roundup herbicide and that Monsanto covered up the risks instead of warning consumers.
A powerful volcano on Monday rocked an uninhabited island frequented by tourists about 30 miles off New Zealand's coast. Authorities have confirmed that five people died. They expect that number to rise as some are missing and police officials issued a statement that flights around the islands revealed "no signs of life had been seen at any point,", as The Guardian reported.
"Based on the information we have, we do not believe there are any survivors on the island," the police said in their official statement. "Police is working urgently to confirm the exact number of those who have died, further to the five confirmed deceased already."
The eruption happened on New Zealand's Whakaari/White Island, an islet jutting out of the Bay of Plenty, off the country's North Island. The island is privately owned and is typically visited for day-trips by thousands of tourists every year, according to The New York Times.
My god, White Island volcano in New Zealand erupted today for first time since 2001. My family and I had gotten off it 20 minutes before, were waiting at our boat about to leave when we saw it. Boat ride home tending to people our boat rescued was indescribable. #whiteisland pic.twitter.com/QJwWi12Tvt— Michael Schade (@sch) December 9, 2019
Michael Schade / Twitter
At the time of the eruption on Monday, about 50 passengers from the Ovation of Seas were on the island, including more than 30 who were part of a Royal Caribbean cruise trip, according to CNN. Twenty-three people, including the five dead, were evacuated from the island.
The eruption occurred at 2:11 pm local time on Monday, as footage from a crater camera owned and operated by GeoNet, New Zealand's geological hazards agency, shows. The camera also shows dozens of people walking near the rim as white smoke billows just before the eruption, according to Reuters.
Police were unable to reach the island because searing white ash posed imminent danger to rescue workers, said John Tims, New Zealand's deputy police commissioner, as he stood next to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in a press conference, as The New York Times reported. Tims said rescue workers would assess the safety of approaching the island on Tuesday morning. "We know the urgency to go back to the island," he told reporters.
"The physical environment is unsafe for us to return to the island," Tims added, as CNN reported. "It's important that we consider the health and safety of rescuers, so we're taking advice from experts going forward."
Authorities have had no communication with anyone on the island. They are frantically working to identify how many people remain and who they are, according to CNN.
Geologists said the eruption is not unexpected and some questioned why the island is open to tourism.
"The volcano has been restless for a few weeks, resulting in the raising of the alert level, so that this eruption is not really a surprise," said Bill McGuire, emeritus professor of geophysical and climate hazards at University College London, as The Guardian reported.
"White Island has been a disaster waiting to happen for many years," said Raymond Cas, emeritus professor at Monash University's school of earth, atmosphere and environment, as The Guardian reported. "Having visited it twice, I have always felt that it was too dangerous to allow the daily tour groups that visit the uninhabited island volcano by boat and helicopter."
The prime minister arrived Monday night in Whakatane, the town closest to the eruption, where day boats visiting the island are docked. Whakatane has a large Maori population.
Ardern met with local council leaders on Monday. She is scheduled to meet with search and rescue teams and will speak to the media at 7 a.m. local time (1 p.m. EST), after drones survey the island, as CNN reported.
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