Quantcast

Current Energy Plans Aren’t Enough to Meet Paris Goals, But an Amped Up Transition Is Possible

Energy
iStock

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

Natural Resources Defense Council

By Emily Deanne

Shower shoes? Check. Extra-long sheets? Yep. Energy efficiency checklist? No worries — we've got you covered there. If you're one of the nation's 12.1 million full-time undergraduate college students, you no doubt have a lot to keep in mind as you head off to school. If you're reading this, climate change is probably one of them, and with one-third of students choosing to live on campus, dorm life can have a big impact on the health of our planet. In fact, the annual energy use of one typical dormitory room can generate as much greenhouse gas pollution as the tailpipe emissions of a car driven more than 156,000 miles.

Read More Show Less
Kokia drynarioides, commonly known as Hawaiian tree cotton, is a critically endangered species of flowering plant that is endemic to the Big Island of Hawaii. David Eickhoff / Wikipedia

By Lorraine Chow

Kokia drynarioides is a small but significant flowering tree endemic to Hawaii's dry forests. Native Hawaiians used its large, scarlet flowers to make lei. Its sap was used as dye for ropes and nets. Its bark was used medicinally to treat thrush.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Frederick Bass / Getty Images

States that invest heavily in renewable energy will generate billions of dollars in health benefits in the next decade instead of spending billions to take care of people getting sick from air pollution caused by burning fossil fuels, according to a new study from MIT and reported on by The Verge.

Read More Show Less
Aerial view of lava flows from the eruption of volcano Kilauea on Hawaii, May 2018. Frizi / iStock / Getty Images

Hawaii's Kilauea volcano could be gearing up for an eruption after a pond of water was discovered inside its summit crater for the first time in recorded history, according to the AP.

Read More Show Less
A couple works in their organic garden. kupicoo / E+ / Getty Images

By Kristin Ohlson

From where I stand inside the South Dakota cornfield I was visiting with entomologist and former USDA scientist Jonathan Lundgren, all the human-inflicted traumas to Earth seem far away. It isn't just that the corn is as high as an elephant's eye — are people singing that song again? — but that the field burgeons and buzzes and chirps with all sorts of other life, too.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
A competitor in action during the Drambuie World Ice Golf Championships in Uummannaq, Greenland on April 9, 2001. Michael Steele / Allsport / Getty Images

Greenland is open for business, but it's not for sale, Greenland's foreign minister Ane Lone Bagger told Reuters after hearing that President Donald Trump asked his advisers about the feasibility of buying the world's largest island.

Read More Show Less
AFP / Getty Images / S. Platt

Humanity faced its hottest month in at least 140 years in July, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said on Thursday. The finding confirms similar analysis provided by its EU counterparts.

Read More Show Less
Newly established oil palm plantation in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Rhett A. Butler / Mongabay

By Hans Nicholas Jong

Indonesia's president has made permanent a temporary moratorium on forest-clearing permits for plantations and logging.

It's a policy the government says has proven effective in curtailing deforestation, but whose apparent gains have been criticized by environmental activists as mere "propaganda."

Read More Show Less