Accelerated Transition To Renewable Energy Could Limit Global Warming

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An accelerated transition to renewable energy could limit the global temperature rise to below 2°C, says the International Renewable Energy Agency.

IEA-15The energy emission reductions that would stem from a transition to renewable energy technologies, coupled with energy efficiency improvements, “must be at the heart of any effort to limit global temperature rise to two degrees Celsius” says the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) on the release of its newest report, REthinking Energy 2015.

In fact, according to the report, if globally renewable energy accounted for 36% of the energy mix by 2030, then half the emission reductions needed to limit warming to 2°C would already be met.

“The energy sector accounts for more than two-thirds of global greenhouse gas emissions, and therefore must be the focus of climate action,” said Adnan Z. Amin, IRENA Director-General. “Transitioning rapidly to a future fuelled by renewable energy, accompanied by increasing energy efficiency, is the most effective way to limit global temperature rise. This transition is underway but it must be accelerated if we are to limit global temperature rise to two degrees Celsius.”

The role of renewable energy in emissions reductions is not a surprise to any who have paid much attention, but the scale to which a transition to renewable energy is nevertheless impressive. As seen below, the REmap 2030 scenario put forward by IRENA against the Reference Case would see 8.6 Gt of emissions reduced per year — add in another 7.3 Gt with energy efficiency improvements, and the emissions reductions are well on their way to being what we need to limit catastrophic global warming.

Carbon-Dioxide Emissions under REmap 2030


And, with the UN climate negotiations mere days away, one hopes that the renewable energy transition and energy efficiency improvements will be high on the discussion list for world leaders as they gather together in Paris.

“The strong business case for renewable energy has made the energy transition inevitable,” said Mr. Amin. “It is now not a question of if the world ultimately transitions to a renewable energy future, but rather whether it will do so quickly enough. At the upcoming climate talks in Paris, it will be up to countries to commit to strong targets, and in turn, give a strong political signal to catalyse further investments in renewable energy.”

The full report, REthinking Energy: Renewable Energy and Climate Change, is available here.

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Joshua S Hill

I'm a Christian, a nerd, a geek, and I believe that we're pretty quickly directing planet-Earth into hell in a handbasket! I also write for Fantasy Book Review (, and can be found writing articles for a variety of other sites. Check me out at for more.

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4 thoughts on “Accelerated Transition To Renewable Energy Could Limit Global Warming

  • Tremendous news, much needed in Paris.

  • Unlike the IEA, IRENA are wholeheartedly in the side of the angels, and use realistic prices for renewables. Report here – you should have provided it (link)

    The required investment in renewables to $500 bn a year is only a doubling from current levels. Easy enough if governments or the stock markets starve the oil companies.

    IRENA’s expertise is in power generation not end-uses, and it shows. The treatment of efficiency gains in transport is superficial. Their rosy scenario includes $100bn a year investment by 2020 in transport. Where? Trains are mainly electric already, buses aren’t a big deal (except for health in cities), and electric ships and planes are still on the drawing-board. Electric cars could be huge – but in national accounts, car purchases are consumption, not investment. I get the feeling that IRENA have not fully grasped the scale of the reduction in emissions from electrification of transport, leveraged by the huge efficiency gains along the chain from zero-waste generator to 85% efficient ev motor.

    • That doubling to 500 bn a year should be easy, since the G 20 alone “support” Ff with that $ amount per year. Remove that and you have more than enough money and save the taxpayers $ on the whole.
      As for improving shipping (trucks) go hybrid of EV and ships would be easy to be converted to hybrids.

  • Geopolitics is going to push the oil price back over a 100USD very soon. The Gulf Monarchies and Venezuela are really circling the drain. Politically they can barely survive during high oil prices, continued low oil prices will result in state collapse.

    We’re talking about Solar+Storage and EV technology reaching parity in various markets 2016-2020. Really they’re going to undercut ICE/Natural Gas massively.

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