Rethinking Energy 2020-2030: 100% Solar, Wind, and Batteries is Just the Beginning
A complete clean energy transition can cost up to $ 2 trillion a year
Going to zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 is possible, but will cost between $ 1 trillion to $ 2 trillion a year, according to a report by the Energy Transitions Commission (ETC).
The commission included 45 representatives of energy companies, financial institutions and environmental groups. Experts believe that it is technically and economically possible to achieve net zero emissions by the middle of the 21st century at an annual cost of about 1% to 1.5% of world GDP.
Limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius – this is the goal the Paris Climate Agreement. The Commission assures that this task will be achieved only with the transition to clean energy..
The additional investment needed should not be a problem given the current low interest rates, the commission said.
«There is no doubt that it is technically and economically possible to achieve the zero carbon economy that we need by 2050. And we are talking about the complete absence of emissions, and not about episodic decline. We need to actively act in the next ten years, otherwise it will be too late», – said the co-chair of the ETC Adair Turner.
The ongoing pandemic has diverted attention away from the climate crisis. However, it hasn’t gone anywhere. California wildfires recently raged, and glacier melting intensified in Antarctica.
The pandemic has highlighted the global economy’s unpreparedness for systemic risks, but unprecedented government spending on recovery efforts offers an opportunity to invest in a more resilient economy, ETC said..
The International Energy Agency and UNO have also urged governments to make efforts to move towards clean energy.
The pandemic has severely damaged global energy investment. Renewables perform better than fossil fuels, but investments in large wind and solar projects in the first quarter of 2020 fell to three years ago.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) said last week that achieving net zero CO2 emissions by 2070 will require an additional $ 31 trillion investment on top of the commitments already made by governments..
However, failing to cope with climate change in the long run can cost much more..
«Recent research shows that global warming has already cost the US and EU at least $ 4 trillion since 2000 lost production, and tropical countries became 5% poorer», – says ETC report.
Commission insists that public policy and regulation should foster private investment and innovation, while discouraging the use of fossil fuels through carbon pricing mechanisms.
Buildings, transport and industry must be supplied with electricity only.
However, this strategy will affect the labor market. The coal mining, automotive and livestock industries are at greatest risk of job loss.. Governments will need to develop a clean energy strategy to offset unemployment and potential cost increases in these sectors..
ETC says China currently has all the resources and technology to become a zero-carbon advanced economy by 2050. The rest of the developing countries will be able to achieve this level by 2060 at the most, but they will need additional funding and the involvement of private «green investments».