IRENA calls for six-fold increase of global renewable energy adoption

EPA-EFE/KIM LUDBROOK

Wind turbines at the Gouda wind farm, Riebeek Kasteel, South Africa, March 13, 2018.

A roadmap currently anticipates up to $11 trillion of stranded energy assets by 2050 – a value that could double if action is further delayed


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Increasing the speed of global renewable energy adoption by at least a factor of six – critical to meeting energy-related emission reduction needs of the Paris Climate Agreement – can limit a global temperature rise by two degrees, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) said on April 17.

According to IRENA’s long-term renewable energy outlook, the global economy would grow by 1% by 2050, including benefits not captured by GDP. The health benefits from reduced air pollution and reduced climate impacts, among others, would improve by 15%, compared to the current trajectory.

A Roadmap to 2050, launched on April 17 at the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue, also finds that increasing cumulative energy system investment by 30% in favour of renewable energy and energy efficiency can create over 11 million additional energy-sector jobs, which will completely offset job losses in the fossil fuel industry, IRENA said.

Immediate action will also reduce the scale and value of stranded energy-related assets in the future. The roadmap currently anticipates up to €8.89 trillion of stranded energy assets by 2050 – a value that could double if any action is further delayed, according to IRENA.

“Renewable energy and energy efficiency together form the cornerstone of the world’s solution to energy-related CO2 emissions, and can provide over 90% of the energy-related CO2 emission reductions required to keep global temperatures from rising by two degrees Celsius,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin. “If we are to decarbonise global energy fast enough to avoid the most severe impacts of climate change, renewables must account for at least two-thirds of total energy by 2050.

Amin said transformation would not only support climate objectives but will support positive social and economic outcomes all over the world, lifting millions out of energy poverty, increasing energy independence and stimulating sustainable job growth.

“An opportunity exists to ramp up investment in low-carbon technologies and shift the global development paradigm from scarcity, inequality, and competition to one of shared prosperity – in our lifetimes. That is an opportunity we must rally behind by adopting strong policies, mobilizing capital and driving innovation across the energy system,” Amin said.

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