Increasing the pace of global renewable energy adoption by at least a factor of six — critical for meeting energy-related emission reduction needs of the Paris Climate Agreement — can limit global temperature rise to two degrees, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)’s long-term renewable energy outlook said on Tuesday.
At the same time, the report finds that by 2050 the global economy would grow by one per cent and global welfare, including benefits not captured by the GDP, such as health benefits from reduced air pollution and reduced climate impacts, among others, would improve by 15 per cent, compared to the current trajectory.
“Global Energy Transformation: A Roadmap to 2050”, launched at the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue, also finds that increasing cumulative energy system investment by 30 per cent up to 2050 in favour of renewable energy and energy efficiency can create over 11 million additional energy sector jobs, completely offsetting job losses in the fossil fuel industry.
Immediate action will also reduce the scale and value of stranded energy-related assets in the future.
The roadmap currently anticipates up to $11 trillion of stranded energy assets by 2050 — a value that could double if action is further delayed.
“Renewable energy and energy efficiency together form the cornerstone of the world’s solution to energy-related CO2 emissions, and can provide over 90 per cent of the energy-related CO2 emission reductions required to keep global temperature rise to two degrees Celsius,” IRENA Director General Adnan Z. Amin said.
“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.
“Transformation will not only support climate objectives, it will also support positive social and economic outcomes all over the world, lifting millions out of energy poverty, increasing energy independence and stimulating sustainable job growth,” Amin said.
The roadmap analysis outlines an energy system in which renewables account for up to two-thirds of total final energy consumption, and 85 per cent of power generation by 2050 — up from 18 per cent and 25 per cent, respectively, at present.
To achieve this, at least a six-fold acceleration of renewable energy is needed, both through increased electrification of transport and heat, and more direct use of renewables.
Electrification and renewable power are key drivers outlined in the report, with solar and wind capacity leading the energy transformation.