Report underscores advantages of renewable energy future

May 10, 2011
A new report by the United Nations-supported Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) launched today underscores the incredible environmental and social advantages of a future powered by renewable energy over the next decades. Credit: WWF-Canon / Hartmut Jungius

A major new report by the United Nations-supported Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) launched today underscores the incredible environmental and social advantages of a future powered by renewable energy over the next decades, WWF said.

The 900-page Special Report on and compares 164 scenarios on renewable energy and is the most comprehensive analysis ever of trends and perspectives for renewable energy.

“The IPCC and governments of the world signal loud and clear: fossil fuels and nuclear are no real alternatives to renewables,” said Dr Stephan Singer, Director for Global Energy Policy for WWF International.

“As oil and gas within easy reach is dwindling, the world needs to move to clean and sustainable sources of energy and avoid any investment into dirty alternatives.”

Although unique in its epic scope, the IPCC underestimates the potential of deploying renewable energy even faster, especially when combined with top level energy efficiency, WWF said. The organisation’s own analysis, called The Energy Report, shows a pathway to a 100% renewable energy future by 2050. This analysis is the first that also indicates the challenges and research needs to make sure this low carbon development respects development needs of up to 9 billion people.

“IPCC delivers a landmark report that shows the rapid growth, low-cost potential for renewable energy – but unfortunately does not endorse a 100% pathway until 2050,” said Singer.

“WWF’s report adds that missing piece – a bold vision with a clear timeline. We need to be fast if we want to tackle pressing issues as varied as energy security and efficiency, and at the same time keep well below the danger threshold of 2 degree global warming.

WWF strongly emphasizes that in addition to the climate benefits, the IPCC report documents the plethora of other advantages clean renewables provide including health and security of supply benefits, new job and technology opportunities for all countries and the potential to provide clean and affordable energy to the more than two billion people in parts of the developing world which either have no or only erratic access.

Meanwhile, more than four days of negotiations that preceded the report’s launch this week in Abu Dhabi produced a Summary for Policy Makers, agreed to by more than 100 governments present in the early hours of Monday 9 May.

“Unfortunately, the Summary for Policy Makers is only a feeble outline and does not in the least match the high quality of the full report,” said Singer. “One needs to turn to the full to understand the massive job the IPCC has managed to achieve.”

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