Potential of renewable energy outlined in report by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Experts Underline Significant Future Role in Cutting Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Powering Sustainable Development
Over 160 Scenarios on the Potential of six Renewable Energy Technologies Reviewed by
Global Team of Technological Experts and Scientists
11th Session of Working Group III
Abu Dhabi, 9 May 2011 - Close to 80 percent of the world's energy supply could be met by renewables by mid-century if backed by the right enabling public policies a new report shows.
The findings, from over 120 researchers working with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), also indicate that the rising penetration of renewable energies could lead to cumulative greenhouse gas savings equivalent to 220 to 560 Gigatonnes of carbon dioxide (GtC02eq) between 2010 and 2050.
The upper end of the scenarios assessed, representing a cut of around a third in greenhouse gas emissions from business-as-usual projections, could assist in keeping concentrations of greenhouse gases at 450 parts per million.
This could contribute towards a goal of holding the increase in global temperature below 2 degrees Celsius - an aim recognized in the United Nations Climate Convention's Cancun Agreements.
The findings, launched today after being approved by member countries of the IPCC in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, are contained in a summary for policymakers of the Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation (SRREN).
The summary is a short version of a roughly a thousand page comprehensive assessment compiled by over 120 leading experts from all over the world for IPCC's Working Group III.
"With consistent climate and energy policy support, renewable energy sources can contribute substantially to human well-being by sustainably supplying energy and stabilizing the climate," said Professor Ottmar Edenhofer, Co-Chair of Working Group III at the report's launch. "However, the substantial increase of renewables is technically and politically very challenging he added.
Youba Sokona, Co-Chair of the Working Group III, said: "The potential role of renewable energy technologies in meeting the needs of the poor and in powering the sustainable growth of developing and developed economies can trigger sharply polarized views. This IPCC report has brought some much needed clarity to this debate in order to inform governments on the options and decisions that will be needed if the world is to collectively realize a low carbon, far more resource efficient and equitable development path."
Ramon Pichs, Co-Chair of the Working Group III, added: "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. Developing countries have an important stake in this future-this is where most of the 1.4 billion people without access to electricity live yet also where some of the best conditions exist for renewable energy deployment."
Also speaking at the launch, Rajendra Pachauri, Chairman of the IPCC, said: "The IPCC brought together the most relevant and best available information to provide the world with this scientific assessment of the potential of renewable energy sources to mitigate climate change. The Special Report can serve as a sound knowledge basis for policymakers to take on this major challenge of the 21st century."