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Policy & Politics

Published on June 7th, 2010 | by Susan Kraemer


We'll Be Twice as Rich if We Switch

June 7th, 2010 by  

An eighteen trillion dollar renewable energy economy would be created by a transition to 95% renewable energy by 2050, a report commissioned from the European Renewable Energy Council finds.


The in-depth economic analysis finds that it is not just technically, but economically feasible to cut global greenhouse gas emissions in line with the recommendations of climate scientists for a safe future climate; 80% by 2050.

The report, Energy [R]evolution – a sustainable energy outlook also did the math on continuing with business as usual. That would provide only a little over half as much of a jolt – eleven trillion dollars. Under business as usual, of the current energy industry’s 8.7 million jobs globally,  only 2.4 million would be in renewables.

By contrast, a global switch to renewable energy would create 8.5 million jobs in renewable energy out of 12 million energy jobs by 2030, and create an $18 trillion energy industry by 2050.

It would also deliver free energy once the infrastructure is built, lowering energy prices.  By 2050, we would be not just participating in a larger economy, but be paying less of that income for energy than we do now (as well as having cleaner, safer renewable energy that doesn’t spill toxic oil in our oceans).

The report assumed no efficiency or conservation – just energy production to meet the world’s global needs. “The scenario mapped out in the report is entirely feasible,” lead author Sven Teske told Business Insider. “We have not proposed cutting energy demand by curbing economic growth, everything is based on the IEA’s economic growth figures and its somewhat conservative projections for fuel costs.”

The reprt notes that policy mechanisms that have already been deployed are working – where they are in place. These include feed-in tariffs, energy efficiency standards, smart grid roll-outs, carbon pricing mechanisms, and cap and trade.


Rooftop Rentals Soar With Generous Canadian Feed-in Tariff

More Wind Farms Mean Cheaper Energy

Northeast Adds 17 Gigawatts of Renewables to Meet RPS

How 4 US States Lowered Greenhouse Gas Emissions Below 1990 Levels

Germany Runs Out of Solar Panels Due to Generous Feed-In Tariff

EU on Track to Meet or Exceed Original Kyoto Goals: Estimate 13% Below 1990 Level

How EU Cap and Trade Got Carbon Emissions Down

Port of LA Pollution Cap Successfully Cuts Emissions

More widespread applications of these successful policies will do more, the study concludes; especially in the third world which has virtually no energy infrastructure now, (so building a new one does not have to compete with infrastructure that is already paid for).

An international agreement whereby industrialized countries helped to fund feed-in tariffs in developing countries to accelerate the global roll-out of renewables would pay off in lower energy prices in the long term there too.

The report also recommended phasing out fossil fuel subsidies, which according to a new report at the Financial Times; are currently about $550 billion a year globally according to the IEA. Fatih Birol, chief economist at the IEA in Paris, told the Financial Times that removing fossil energy subsidies was a policy that could change the energy game “quickly and substantially”.

Image: Energy [R]evolution

Source: Business Insider 


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About the Author

writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today and Renewable Energy World.  She has also been published at Wind Energy Update, Solar Plaza, Earthtechling PV-Insider , and GreenProphet, Ecoseed, NRDC OnEarth, MatterNetwork, Celsius, EnergyNow, and Scientific American. As a former serial entrepreneur in product design, Susan brings an innovator's perspective on inventing a carbon-constrained civilization: If necessity is the mother of invention, solving climate change is the mother of all necessities! As a lover of history and sci-fi, she enjoys chronicling the strange future we are creating in these interesting times.    Follow Susan on Twitter @dotcommodity.

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