Renewable energy is rapidly becoming the preferred choice for new electricity generation across the globe, a new Climate Council report has revealed.
A Whole New World: Tracking the renewables boom from Copenhagen to Paris reveals how the world is in the midst of a dramatic energy revolution which will be further accelerated by a global leaders meeting in Paris in December.
The report finds clean energy investment grew 43% since 2009, while the number of renewable energy jobs nearly doubled to 7.7 million world-wide.
Climate Council Chief Councillor Tim Flannery says plummeting costs and increasing jobs means there is a strong economic case for scaling renewable energy that wasn’t clear in 2009.
“While in the past tackling climate change has been considered a moral imperative, it is now also a huge economic opportunity as countries make very significant commitments to growing renewable energy at the same time that the costs plummet,” Professor Flannery said.
“Renewable energy has overtaken fossil fuels to become the preferred choice for new electricity generation, accounting for more than half of new capacity additions in the last two years.”
Professor Flannery says the upcoming Paris conference is helping to build momentum for change.
“More than 160 countries have now put in place targets to grow their renewable power.”
Eight of the world’s top 10 biggest greenhouse gas emitters, including India, the US and Brazil, have announced significant upgrades to their renewable plans to nearly double their supply of green energy.
The Climate Council’s chief executive Amanda McKenzie warns that while the industry is rapidly gaining traction, renewable energy must expand even faster to avoid the most dangerous impacts of climate change.
“The report shows we need to see a tripling or even quadrupling of low emissions energy by 2050 to tackle climate change,” she said.
Ms McKenzie says Australia can step up and take a leading role.
“The renewables boom could pass Australia by despite our huge advantage as the sunniest and one of the windiest countries in the world.
“The longer we wait, the more likely we will miss out on fully accessing the benefits of this transition – the jobs, the innovation, future industries and investment.”
The report also found:
- 4,700,000 new jobs have been created worldwide in renewable energy since the previous UN talks in Copenhagen.
- At the same time, the price of solar photovoltaic modules has dived 75% and wind power has fallen a dramatic 30%.
- The number of countries with renewable energy policy targets has almost doubled since 2009 providing a substantial driver for growing renewables into the future.
The Climate Council is an independent, crowd-funded organisation providing quality information to climate change to the Australian public.
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