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Renewable energy could support 8.5 million jobs by 2030

Stronger government support for green power could boost employment in the sector, according to the latest forecast from Greenpeace and the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC).

The report, Energy [R]evolution: A Sustainable World Energy Outlook, provides a blueprint for reducing carbon emissions while achieving economic growth by using renewable energy and energy efficiency to replace fossil fuels.

The phase-out of fossil fuels would provide energy security, independence from world market fuel prices and the creation of 8.5 millions new jobs within 20 years, it estimates.

This is the third edition of the Energy [R]evolution scenario since the first was published in January 2007. The version examines a moderate energy scenario with a global target of reducing 50% of the world’s energy-related CO2 by 2050, and an advanced scenario with a target of 80% CO2 reduction.

It was released at the climate change meetings in Bonn, where negotiators from 185 countries are meeting to discuss a new climate deal after a summit in Copenhagen last December failed to agree on a binding treaty on reducing emissions

“Our Energy Revolution scenario shows how to eliminate unpredictable fossil fuel costs, destructive mining and oil exploration and with it catastrophes such as the current BP Gulf oil spill,” explains Sven Teske of Greenpeace and co-author of the 260-page report.

“Investing in people, rather than dirty and dangerous fossil fuels, not only boosts global economic development but stems catastrophic climate change.”

Market for renewable energy to be US$600 billion by 2030

The overall annual market for renewable technology would increase from US$100bn to US$600bn by 2030, if governments increase their support. Key to the transition is creating a system in which investment costs are shared fairly under a global climate regime, with one mechanism calculating the national shares of global GHG obligations based on a combination of responsibility and capacity.

Under that mechanism, the United States would pay 36% of the global investment of US$18 trillion by 2030, but that would set the world on a path to generating 95% of its electricity from renewable energy. The US share would decline to 29% by 2030.

China, which has passed the USA as the world’s major GHG emitter, would pay 4.3% of the cost in 2010, rising to 13.6% by 2030.

Report gives guidance for renewable energy future

“The 2010 Energy Revolution report outlines pathways towards a 100% renewable energy supply for the world,” says Christine Lins of EREC.

“It demonstrates that there is no technological barrier to achieving this vision and reaping its many benefits in terms of the environment and jobs; the barrier is political.”

Global CO2 emissions under the Energy [R]evolution scenario would peak in 2015 and decline afterwards. Compared with 1990, emissions will be 80% lower by 2050 if the energy supply is based almost entirely on renewable energy.

The report was developed with the Institute of Technical Thermodynamics at the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), the Dutch Institute Ecofys and 40 scientists and engineers from universities, institutes and the renewable energy industry.

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