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Renewables could meet most energy demand

May 13, 2011, Washington, D.C. – Renewable energy technologies could supply nearly 80% of the world's energy needs by 2050, if backed by strong “enabling” policies, according to a report released recently by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.


May 13, 2011
By Argus Media

May 13, 2011, Washington, D.C. – Renewable
energy technologies could supply nearly 80% of the world's energy needs by
2050, if backed by strong “enabling” policies, according to a report released
recently by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
(IPCC). Such widespread deployment would help cumulatively lower greenhouse gas
emissions by 220–560 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent between 2010 and 2050, a
cut of about one-third below business as usual projections, according to the
report, which looked at around 160 scenarios for the growth of renewables.

The report projects that six
technologies—bioenergy, solar, geothermal, hydropower, ocean energy and
wind—could meet up to 77% of global energy demand by 2050, up from about 13% in
2008. Achieving the most optimistic scenario would require significant support
from world governments such as through pricing greenhouse gas emissions,
building new infrastructure, and supporting research and development efforts.

“The report shows 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,” says Ramon
Pichs, co-chair of the IPCC working group that produced the report.

The report estimates that the global
investment needed to ramp up renewable energy use ranges from $1.4 trillion to
$5.1 trillion by 2020, and $1.5 trillion to $7.2 trillion from 2021 to 2030.

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