Greenpeace installs solar panels on a school.
By shifting global investments to renewable energy (including
solar, wind, hydro, geothermal and bio energy), within the next 23
years, and away from dirty and dangerous coal and nuclear power, we
can save a massive US$180 billion a year.
So we face a simple but crucial choice: we can either invest in
over 10,000 new polluting coal and gas power plants, which would
double fuel costs and increase C02 emissions by more than 50
percent. Or we can choose a safe renewable energy future, producing
70 percent of the world's electricity from our planet's natural
By doing this we would not only save money but also cut CO2
emissions from the electricity sector in half by 2030.
What to do with all that money
We asked Action Aid what development needs could be met with the
US$180 billion a year savings. They told us that it is the exact
amount needed in extra aid to reach the Millennium Development
Goals (MDGs) by their target date of 2015.
The goals are to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; universal
primary education; gender equality and women's empowerment; reduce
child mortality; improve maternal health; combat HIV/AIDS, malaria
and other diseases; ensure environmental sustainability; and
develop a global partnership for development.
Under our renewable energy future, part of the Energy
[R]evolution the world urgently needs to curb catastrophic climate
change, the savings would be enough to reach these most basic goals
for human need and development. The maths as well as the choice is
The poorest paying the price
It is the poorest people in the world who are already suffering
the devastating effects of climate change, and who stand to lose
the most if we do not take urgent action now. The costs of a
'business as usual' scenario go much deeper than pure economics.
How, for example, do you put a price on a Pacific Islander finding
their home is sinking?
The developing world has contributed the least to the climate
change we already see today, and yet are paying by far the highest
price. By embracing the Energy [R]evolution, we can start to make
It's so simple, and so essential, the extra investment of $22
billion needed in renewables to achieve the Energy [R]evolution is
easy to obtain if we convert the massive subsidies of $250 billion
a year that coal and gas receive to clean, safe energy from the
world's natural resources.
Governments must listen to the voices of the billions of people
engaging with Live Earth and make the right decisions NOW. In the
next decade, many existing power plants will need replacing, and
emerging economies such as China, India and Brazil are rapidly
building new energy infrastructure.
The UN Environment Programme says of our report that "it is just
the kind of publication that will strike a thoughtful chord with
the expert and the novice in the field of renewable energy. I am
sure it will spark even greater interest and action towards a more
sustainable, climate friendly, energy mix and allow renewables to
achieve their full and very exciting potential."
The market for wind energy grew by a massive 36 percent in 2006,
and the total renewable energy sector would be worth a massive
US$288 billion by 2030 if we take the Energy Revolution pathway.
The renewable energy industry is willing and able to deliver the
power plants the world needs, we must just make the right choices
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