A new UN report shows that nearly 80% of our global energy needs could be supplied by renewablesby 2050 if backed by the necessary government policies. The report, released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on May 9, reviewed six renewable energy technologies: bioenergy, solar, power, geothermal power, hydropower, ocean energy, and wind energy.
The report is the result of 120 researchers working with the IPCC, and reviewing over 160 possible scenarios on the possible penetration of renewables over the next 40 years. In most of the reviewed scenarios it was found that renewable energy will contribute more to a low carbon energy supply than either nuclear power or fossil fuels using carbon capture and storage (CCS).
The best case scenarios assessed, could contribute to achieving the goal of holding the increase in global temperature below 2 degrees Celsius which was recognised in the United Nations Climate Convention’s Cancun Agreements.
However, the report warns that achieving such a substantial increase will be both technically and politically challenging. Ramon Pichs, Co-Chair of the Working Group III, said at the report’s launch that “it is not the availability of the resource, but the public policies that will either expand or constrain renewable energy development over the coming decades.
A 26 page summary of the report (PDF) is available, or you can read the entire Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation, of roughly a thousand pages.