A giant breakthrough report came today from Greenpeace International that states that renewable energy could provide 100% of the world's electricity by 2050. In the report entitled Energy [R]evolution 2015, there will be 100% renewable energy, absolutely no greenhouse emissions, phased out nuclear energy, and fewer quests for new oil in the Arctic and deep sea. As a result of these changes, employment in sustainable fields like wind and solar energy would skyrocket. The report states that almost 10 million people could be employed by the solar photovoltaic industry by 2030. In the US alone, the report also points out, there are twice as many solar workers as there are coal workers, and the numbers keep growing.
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The analysis, researched in collaboration with the German Aerospace Center (DLR), shows that this transition to renewables would create jobs and be cost competitive with many other markets for energy.
The report uses the hope that renewables will make up 64% of energy - up from the current level of 21% - which would ensure that two thirds of the electricity in the world is delivered in a clean and eco-friendly way. Despite the rapid development of countries such as Brazil, China and India, greenhouse-gas emissions could fall from the current 30 gigatons per year to 20 gigatons by 2030.
The report came out in time for the hope of impacting the UN Climate Summit in Paris.
Unfortunately for the report, there are some assumptions that make it a tad troublesome - most to the tune of the $64.6 trillion in funding that will be needed by 2050. However, Greenpeace maintains that the clean energy pricetag would be more than covered by future savings in fuel costs. Because renewables don’t require fuel, the savings would more than cover the costs of the investment, the group contends.
The biggest problem will likely be the political implications of moving toward a different source:
"We must not let the fossil fuel industry's lobbying stand in the way of a switch to renewable energy, the most effective and fairest way to deliver a clean and safe energy future," said Kumi Naidoo, executive director of Greenpeace International. "I urge all those who say ‘it can’t be done’ to read this report and recognize that it can be done and must be done for the benefit of people around the world."
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Greenpeace has been publishing scenarios for the last decade, and works hand in hand with the scientific community. The predications are taken into consideration by many different outlets, and have been produced by the International Energy Agency, Goldman Sachs and the U.S. Department of Energy.