Findings from a major international panel on climate change released today suggest close to 80 percent of the world’s energy supply could come from renewables by mid-century if backed by proper public policies. Said global shift to clean energy on such a mass scale also reportedly would significantly cut down on global warming.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), established by leaders at the United Nations to provide the world with a clear scientific view on the current state of knowledge in climate change, said in its report it took a look at over 160 scenarios on the potential of six renewable energy technologies. It was put forth based upon this report, among other findings, that “the rising penetration of renewable energies could lead to cumulative greenhouse gas savings equivalent to 220 to 560 Gigatonnes of carbon dioxide (GtC02eq) between 2010 and 2050.”
The six renewable energy technologies considered include biofuels, solar energy, geothermal energy, hydropower, ocean energy and wave energy, which is pretty much every major form of clean energy one can think of. Of the previously mentioned 160 scenarios, four were considered in depth, with the most optimistic projecting the various clean energy sources accounting for as much as 77 percent of the world‘s energy demand by 2050. This amounts to about 314 of 407 Exajoules per year.
To get to such lofty goals, public policy will obviously have to be influenced to drive clean energy development and production. There are various ways to get to this, the UN report suggests. For example, it is thought that “if environmental impacts such as emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases were monetized and included in energy prices, more renewable energy technologies may become economically attractive.”
Also, it is believed that “public policies that recognize and reflect the wider economic, social and environmental benefits of renewable energies, including their potential to cut air pollution and improve public health, will be key for meeting the highest renewables deployment scenarios.”