Contribution to Euronews CommentVisions
In 2007, renewable energy already provided 18% of the world’s total final energy supply, greatly exceeding earlier predictions. While global GDP increased by 156% between 1990 and 2007, energy demand “only” rose by 39%. A recent Worldwatch study has outlined a new, technologically and economically viable 2030 global low-carbon scenario. It demonstrates that energy demand can be reduced by another one third compared to the business-as-usual scenario produced by the International Energy Agency which is used by many as the “reference scenario”. In our scenario 50% – half! – of the remaining energy demand in 2030 can be provided by renewables decreasing energy-related CO2 emissions by 52%.
Natural gas will play a major role in covering the other 48%. Natural gas is widely available and produces less greenhouse gas emissions and less local air and water pollution than coal and gas. It also does not create the security, economic, and health burdens of nuclear energy. What is more, natural gas can serve as an important ally of renewables. Since gas power plants can be switched on and off relatively easily, we can make sure that the maximum amount of renewables are used despite their fluctuations on a given day. Environmentally such a major transition of the global energy system is a necessity if want to avoid catastrophic climate disruptions. Technologically and economically, our scenario is feasible. What is still lacking, is the political will to make it reality.