New IPCC report reveals: Renewable energy is indispensible to avoiding climate change

Feature story - May 9, 2011
Greenpeace Canada today urged the newly elected Harper government to learn from a new UN report on renewable energy and shift its policy from providing subsidies to the tar sands to investing in green energy.

Today in Abu Dhabi, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) released a Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources (SRREN) which found that just two per cent of viable renewable energy sources could provide up to 80 per cent of world energy demand by 2050 with currently available technologies. It also highlights that renewable energy could play the key role in mitigating climate change and increasing energy access, equity and security. However, there are significant energy policy barriers that need to be removed in order to unlock the full potential of renewable energies, the report concluded.

Sven Teske, Renewable Energy Director from Greenpeace International, and one of the lead authors of the SRREN report said: “This is an invitation to governments to initiate a radical overhaul of their policies and place renewable energy centre stage. In the run up to the next major climate conference, COP17 in South Africa in December, the onus is clearly on governments to step up to the mark.”

“The IPCC report shows overwhelming scientific evidence that renewable energy can also meet the growing demand of developing countries, where over two billion people lack access to basic energy services . And it can do so at a more cost competitive and faster rate than conventional energy sources. Governments have to kick start the energy revolution by implementing renewable energy laws across the globe,” Teske said.

The Energy [R]evolution scenario – a joint project of Greenpeace International, the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC) and the German Space Agency (DLR) – was chosen as one of the lead scenarios of the SRREN report. Since the first edition was launched in 2005, Greenpeace has published the Energy [R]evolution in over 40 countries and developed national scenarios, as well as three editions of its global version.

The Energy [R]evolution scenario for Canada challenges the need for dirty oil from the tar sands and shows how Canada could create tens of thousands of green jobs while providing over 90 per cent of the country’s electricity and heating needs from renewable sources by 2050.

“Canada can become a leader in renewable energy by building on Ontario’s Green Energy Act and other initiatives at the provincial level,” said Greenpeace Canada energy policy analyst Keith Stewart, who worked with Teske on the Canadian Energy [R]evolution scenario. “We will be left behind, however, if the federal government chooses to continue ignoring green energy in favour of subsidizing the oil industry to accelerate global warming.”

The Canadian scenario of the Energy Revolution is at:

Background on SRREN report

Summary for policy makers: IPCC: SRREN report: