New research from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) suggests that scaling up the percentage of the world’s renewable energy usage to 36% of the world’s total energy consumption by 2030 is not only going to be healthy for the environment, but is also able to produce savings of up to $740 billion per year on costs associated with pollution from fossil fuels.
The report, “REmap 2030”, explains that scaling up to 36% renewable energy by 2030 will keep planet Earth on track to hold carbon dioxide levels at 450 parts per million (ppm) by 2100, “the widely accepted threshold to limit global temperature increase to two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels”.
“The central policy question is this: What energy sources do we want to invest in? Our data shows that renewable energy can help avert catastrophic climate change and save the world money, if all costs are considered,” said Adnan Z. Amin, Director-General of IRENA, in New York.
“In answering this question, ‘REmap 2030’ makes a clear case for renewables. It shows the transition is affordable based on existing technologies, and that the benefits go well beyond the positive climate impact. Countries today face a clear choice for a sustainable energy future.”
“We can double the renewable energy share in the global energy mix, but we are not on that path now. To realize the world’s renewable energy potential, all governments need to step up their efforts. We need to act now,” said Dolf Gielen, Director of IRENA’s Innovation and Technology Centre.
“IRENA recommends focusing on five key areas: planning realistic but ambitious transition pathways; creating enabling business environments; managing knowledge of technology options and their deployment; ensuring smooth integration of renewables into the existing infrastructure; and unleashing innovation.”
IRENA believe that by doubling renewable energy usage to 36%, the global demand for oil and gas would drop by 15% and by 26% for coal. This not only benefits the climate as a whole, but has immediate and long-term benefits for health affected by pollution, as well as energy security for countries currently reliant upon energy imports.
Almost as impressive, however, is that IRENA believe that such an increase in renewable energy usage would create a net gain of nearly one million jobs worldwide by 2030.