Renewables Must Produce 48% of Total Energy by 2035 to Meet Climate Goals

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Written By: Jim Greenberg

To reach the goal of capping emissions at 450 parts per million (ppm), renewable energy must make up at least 48% of total electricity generation by 2035, the International Energy Agency (IEA) warns.
1781915054In its World Energy Outlook 2013 Report, the IEA presented a scenario for meeting global energy demand by 2035. The report projects that energy-induced carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions will rise by 20% by 2035. The resulting impact on temperature will exceed the internationally agreed 2°C climate target by an extra 1.6°C.

To keep global temperatures below the 2°C target, the report says that the world will need to double its use of renewable energy, and renewables will need to produce at least 48% of total energy generation by 2035. Only with this level of clean energy production will we as a global society be able to cap emissions at 450 parts per million.

The report says that a huge part of this increase in renewables will come from wind and solar energy. Together, their total generation is set to increase to 18% of total world production.

Estimating that energy demand will rise by one third by 2035, the outlook report says that more than US$6 trillion will need to be invested into the renewable energy sector to keep emissions below a 2°C global increase. By 2035, global renewable energy subsidies will also require an increase to $220 billion, standing at half of the cost of fossil fuel subsidies, which in 2012 totaled more than $550 billion.

Recognizing the importance of tackling climate change, the 2013 report recommended four practical measures: limiting the construction and use of the least-efficient coal-fired power plants, accelerating the partial phase-out of fossil fuel subsidies, minimizing methane emissions from gas and oil consumption, and adopting energy efficiency measures.

According to Market Wired, these four recommendations have remained consistent within Canada’s climate change strategy.

“Canada has taken significant action in addressing climate change and has demonstrated global leadership in advancing energy efficiency and phasing out traditional coal-fired electricity”, says Joe Oliver, Canada’s minister of Natural Resources.

Oliver adds, “We have invested substantially in innovation and energy efficiency initiatives -including technological breakthroughs in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the production of nonconventional sources of energy, minimum standards for over 40 products, regulations to improve fuel efficiency for passenger automobiles, light trucks and heavy-duty vehicles and engines and more stringent energy codes for buildings.”