New global energy strategy tackles climate change and saves $18 trillion in fuel costs
July 6, 2010
WASHINGTON–-At a time when polluting corporations are trying to use the economic slowdown as an excuse to delay action on global warming, a new Greenpeace report shows that aggressive investment in renewable power and energy efficiency can create a $360 billion a year industry, provide half of the world’s electricity, and slash $18 trillion in future fuel expenditures while protecting the climate.
"Energy [R]evolution: A Sustainable World Energy Outlook," drafted by the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC) and Greenpeace International, provides a practical blueprint for rapidly cutting energy-related carbon dioxide emissions to help ensure that emissions of the heat-trapping gases peak and then fall by 2015, the time frame scientists say is critical to avoid the most catastrophic impacts of global warming. This can be achieved while ensuring economies in China, India, and other developing nations have access to the energy needed to lift people out of poverty.
"Unlike other energy scenarios that promote energy futures at the cost of the climate, our energy revolution scenario shows how to save money and maintain global economic development without fuelling catastrophic climate change. All we need to kick start this plan is bold energy policy from world leaders," said Sven Teske, Greenpeace International's Senior Energy Expert and co-author of the report.
"Strict efficiency standards make sound economic sense and dramatically slow down rising global energy demand. The energy saved in industrialized countries will make space for increased energy use in developing economies. With renewable energy growing four-fold not only in the electricity sector, but also in the heating and transport sectors, we can still cut the average carbon emissions per person from today's four tons to around one ton by 2050," he added.
In the context of today's economic uncertainty, investing in renewable energy technologies offers a win-win-win scenario: a win for the economy, a win for the climate, and a win for energy security. The report estimates that the cost of continued reliance on coal, from today through 2030, is as high as $15.9 trillion, more than required to pay for the renewable solutions proposed in the plan. These clean energy sources will produce electricity without any additional fuel costs after 2030, while creating millions of jobs and stimulating the global economy.
Oliver Schäfer, EREC Policy Director said, "The global market for renewable energy can grow at a double digit rates until 2050, and overtake the size of today's fossil fuel industry. Currently, the renewable energy market is worth $70 billion and doubling in size every three years."
"Because of economies of scale, renewable energies such as wind power at good sites are already competitive with conventional power. From around 2015 onwards, we are confident that renewable sources across all sectors will be the most cost effective. The renewable industry is ready and able to deliver the needed capacity to make the energy revolution a reality. There is no technical impediment but a political barrier to rebuild the global energy sector," he added.
"Countries like China and India are well placed to take the enormous investment opportunity presented by the energy revolution," said John Passacantando, Greenpeace U.S.A. Executive Director. "It would be short-sighted for them to focus on fossil fuels to power their rapid economic growth. The energy revolution is key to them climate proofing their development."
The report also highlights the short time window for making the key decisions in energy infrastructure. In order to achieve a greenhouse gas emission peak by 2015 and a fast reduction afterwards, governments, investment institutions and companies must act swiftly, and agree to a strengthened UN climate deal.
VVPR info: CONTACTS: Mike Crocker, Media Officer, Greenpeace, U.S.A., 202-319-2471; Meg Boyle, Global Warming Policy Specialist, Greenpeace, U.S.A., 202-319-2410
Notes: The report was developed in conjunction with specialists from the Institute of Technical Thermodynamics at the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), the Dutch Institute Ecofys and more than 40 scientists and engineers from universities, institutes and the renewable energy industry around the world. This year’s edition of the Energy [R]evolution added detailed analysis of the potential for energy efficiency potential, future transport systems such as electric cars and a financial analysis of the power sector. The report provides a comprehensive global energy concept which gives a detailed analysis of how to restructure the global energy system based on a detailed regional assessment for the potential of proven renewable energy sources, energy efficiency and the utilization of efficient, decentralized co-generation. The Energy [R]evolution Scenario is compared to a ‘business as usual’ scenario provided by the International Energy Association’s breakdown of 10 world regions as used in the ongoing series of World Energy Outlook reports.