80% of power generation and 65% of total primary energy supply should come from renewables if global energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are to be reduced by 70% by 2050 and completely phased-out by 2060, according to new findings released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
While the overall energy investment needed for decarbonising the energy sector is substantial – an additional USD 29 trillion until 2050 – it amounts to a small share (0.4%) of global GDP, IRENA said in the new report, Perspectives for the Energy Transition: Investment Needs for a Low-Carbon Energy Transition.
Furthermore, IRENA’s macroeconomic analysis suggests that such investment creates a stimulus that, together with other pro-growth policies, will boost global GDP by 0.8% in 2050; generate new jobs in the renewable energy sector that would more than offset job losses in the fossil fuel industry, with further jobs being created by energy efficiency activities, and; improve human welfare through important additional environmental and health benefits thanks to reduced air pollution.
Globally, 32 gigatonnes (Gt) of energy-related CO2 were emitted in 2015. The report states that emissions will need to fall continuously to 9.5 Gt by 2050 to limit warming to no more than two degrees above pre-industrial temperatures. 90% of this energy CO2 emission reduction can be achieved through expanding renewable energy deployment and improving energy efficiency, according to IRENA.
Renewable energy now accounts for 24% of global power generation and 16% of primary energy supply.
“The Paris Agreement reflected an unprecedented international determination to act on climate. The focus must be on the decarbonision of the global energy system as it accounts for almost two-thirds of greenhouse gas emissions,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin.
“Critically, the economic case for the energy transition has never been stronger. Today around the world, new renewable power plants are being built that will generate electricity for less cost than fossil-fuel power plants. And through 2050, the decarbonisation can fuel sustainable economic growth and create more new jobs in renewables. We are in a good position to transform the global energy system but success will depend on urgent action, as delays will raise the costs of decarbonisation.”