The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) says the global economy could save $160tn in health costs, energy subsidies and climate damage in the next 30 years if its recommendations on energy transition are followed.
IRENA’s ‘Global Energy Transformation: A Roadmap to 2050’ report states that the key to this transformation is electrification. If the share of electricity in energy increases to 50% by 2050, renewables would form about 67% of energy consumption and 86% of power generation. This in turn would reduce CO2 emissions by 60%.
These changes would bring significant economic benefit, with a 2.5% increase in GDP and a 0.2% increase in employment worldwide.
However, the report also warns about CO2 emissions, saying that emissions would need to decrease by 3.5% per year each year to 2050 to achieve reductions of 70% below today’s level. At the moment, emissions have actually grown annually by 1% in the last five years.
New IRENA secretary-general Francesco La Camera said: “The race to secure a climate safe future has entered a decisive phase. Renewable energy is the most effective and readily-available solution for reversing the trend of rising CO2 emissions. A combination of renewable energy with a deeper electrification can achieve 75%of the energy-related emissions reduction needed.
“The shift towards renewables makes economic sense. By mid-century, the global economy would be larger, and jobs created in the energy sector would boost global employment by 0.2 per cent. Policies to promote a just, fair and inclusive transition could maximise the benefits for different countries, regions and communities. This would also accelerate the achievement of affordable and universal energy access.
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“The global energy transformation goes beyond a transformation of the energy sector. It is a transformation of our economies and societies. The energy transformation is gaining momentum, but it must accelerate even faster.”
IRENA will present this report at the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue.