Quantcast
Business

Renewables to Overtake Coal as World's Largest Power Source, Says IEA

The International Energy Agency's (IEA) latest report found that "in advance of the critical COP21 climate summit in Paris, there's a clear sign that an energy transition is underway." The World Energy Outlook 2015 report, published today, found that "renewables contributed almost half of the world's new power generation capacity in 2014 and have already become the second-largest source of electricity (after coal)."

More than 150 countries have submitted climate pledges ahead of the Paris climate talks, and they are "rich in commitments on renewables and energy efficiency," says the IEA. The report also found renewables are set to become "the leading source of new energy supply from now to 2040." And renewables will overtake coal as the largest source of electricity generation by the 2030s.

The IEA projects “turbulent times” ahead for coal: “Coal has increased its share of the global energy mix from 23 percent in 2000 to 29 percent today, but the momentum behind coal’s surge is ebbing away and the fuel faces a reversal of fortune.” China's coal use will "plateau at close to today's levels," says the IEA, but India's energy demand will grow to 2.5 times its current rate.

It remains to be seen whether India will pursue the coal-heavy track that China followed. Coal demand is set to triple in India and Southeast Asia by 2040, reports the Guardian. At the same time, India is one of many countries aiming to become a so-called "solar superpower," making a huge commitment to renewables at its first big renewables trade convention earlier this year. And India lays claim to the world's first airport powered entirely by solar energy.

"Renewables-based generation reaches 50 percent in the EU [European Union] by 2040, around 30 percent in China and Japan, and above 25 percent in the United States and India," according to IEA estimates.

The rapid growth in renewable energy will help emissions to slow "dramatically," says the IEA, but the current emissions trajectory shows we are still heading for 2.7 degrees Celsius warming by 2100.

The IEA warns that a "major course correction" is still required to keep warming below the two degrees Celsius target. "As the largest source of global greenhouse-gas emissions, the energy sector must be at the heart of global action to tackle climate change," said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol.

"World leaders meeting in Paris must set a clear direction for the accelerated transformation of the global energy sector," she added. "The IEA stands ready to support the implementation of an agreement reached in Paris with all of the instruments at our disposal, to track progress, promote better policies and support the technology innovation that can fulfill the world's hopes for a safe and sustainable energy future."

Yesterday, two reports found the Earth's climate has passed two new milestones. The World Meteorological Organization's report found that greenhouse gas concentrations hit yet another new record in 2014. Globally averaged CO2 levels above 400 parts per million will soon be "a permanent reality,” the WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said.

Meanwhile, the UK's Met Office report found that global warming is on track to exceed one degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by the end of the year.

But several groups are outlining how we can rapidly transition to a low-carbon future by expediting the deployment of renewable energy worldwide. Just yesterday, NextGen Climate America released a new report showing that the transition to a clean energy economy will drive economic growth for decades, create well-paying jobs and increase household incomes. And in September, Greenpeace outlined a path for the world to transition to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050.

“The impossible is becoming possible. The global breakthrough of renewable energy has happened much faster than anticipated," said Emily Rochon, global energy strategist at Greenpeace International.

“The IEA is catching up on renewable energy trends, but it is still failing to see the full potential of change," said Rochon. "We believe that with the right level of policy support, the world can deliver 100 percent renewable energy for all by 2050.”

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Monsanto Handed ‘Double Whammy’ by Mexican Courts Over Planting GMOs

Why Buying a Vacation Home in Southern Florida Is Not a Good Idea

Why Buying a Vacation Home in Southern Florida Is Not a Good Idea

4 More Bizarre Ben Carson Stories Emerge

Show Comments ()
Sponsored
Hurricane Harvey, seen from the International Space Station. Elements of this image are furnished by NASA. Irina Dmitrienko / Alamy

Climate Change ‘Tripled Chances’ of Hurricane Harvey’s Record Rain

By Daisy Dunne

When Hurricane Harvey struck Texas on Aug. 25, the state was hit by catastrophic flooding caused by record rainfall. In just three days, up to 40 inches (100 cm) of rain fell on Houston and its surrounding towns, leaving 80 dead and more than 100,000 homeless.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
WAVY-TV

Atlantic Coast Pipeline Opponents Down But Not Out After Conditional Approval

A Virginia panel of regulators granted a conditional approval for a controversial gas pipeline Tuesday, saying that more information on environmental impact is needed before the project can proceed.

The Virginia State Water Board voted 4-3 to approve water permits for the pipeline in one of the project's last remaining hurdles, but delayed the start of construction until several additional environmental studies are reviewed and approved.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
Dawn on the S rim of the Grand Canyon. Murray Foubister / Flickr

Grand Canyon Uranium Mining Ban Upheld by Appeals Court

The Havasupai Tribe and a coalition of conservation groups praised the decision Tuesday by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold the Department of the Interior's 20-year ban on new uranium mining claims across 1 million acres of public lands adjacent to the Grand Canyon.

The court ruled that the ban, adopted in 2012, complies with the Constitution and federal environmental laws, and that the protected area was not too large, as plaintiff mining companies had argued. The ban protects the aquifers and streams that feed the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon from toxic uranium-mining waste pollution and water depletion.

Keep reading... Show less
Union of Concerned Scientists

Arctic Report Card 2017: Ice Cover Is Shrinking Faster Compared With Prior 1,500 Years

By Brenda Ekwurzel

The 2017 Arctic Report Card reflects contributions from 85 scientists representing 12 countries. The pace of sea ice area (hereafter extent) decrease is unprecedented over the past 1,500 years, according to Emily Osborne's et al. 2017 contribution to the Arctic Report Card released Tuesday.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

20 Companies Pledge to Phase Out Coal

Twenty companies including Unilever and the Virgin Group announced on Tuesday that they will phase out usage of coal in order to combat climate change.

The companies announced their decision at the One Planet Summit hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris. Coming a month after the COP23 in Bonn, Germany, the announcement puts the companies in a position similar to the "Powering Past Coal Alliance," a partnership of 26 nations founded in Bonn by Britain, France, Mexico, New Zealand, Costa Rica and the Marshall Islands.

Keep reading... Show less
World Bank Group president Jim Yong Kim at One Planet Summmit: "We're working with partners to put the right policies in place, get market forces moving in the right direction, put money on the table, and accelerate climate action." World Bank / Twitter

One Planet Summit: World Bank to Stop Financing Oil, Gas Projects

In effort to bolster a global shift to clean energy, the World Bank—which provides financial, advisory and technical support to developing countries—announced it will “no longer finance upstream oil and gas, after 2019."

The announcement was made Tuesday at the international One Planet climate summit called by French President Emmanuel Macron, President of the World Bank Group Jim Yong Kim, and United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

Your Food Has a Climate Footprint: Here’s What You Can Do About It

By Bruno Vander Velde

Our diets are—to put it bluntly—a problem for the planet.

About a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions can be traced to food in some way. So what you put on your plate actually matters a lot more than you think.

Keep reading... Show less
Prescribed fire in Tulare, California. USDA Forest Service

Record 129 Million Dead Trees in California

By U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service Monday announced that an additional 27 million trees, mostly conifers, died throughout California since November 2016, bringing the total number of trees that have died due to drought and bark beetles to an historic 129 million on 8.9 million acres. The dead trees continue to pose a hazard to people and critical infrastructure, mostly centered in the central and southern Sierra Nevada region of the state.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!