The world’s leading researchers on the energy transformation have published a joint declaration finding that the shift towards a 100 per cent renewables-based world is possible and could come much faster than the general expectation. The research concluded that electricity supply could be powered by renewables completely by 2030 and, with substantial political will around the world, 100 per cent renewable energy is also technically and economically feasible across all other sectors by 2035.
Researchers warned that the Earth’s climate emergency requires the completion of a zero-emissions economy much sooner than the generally discussed target year of 2050. In the public debate, policies to reach 100 per cent renewables across all energy sectors are few in number and by 2035 are non-existent. Even the EU, considered to be a frontrunner in climate action, has only a 32 per cent renewables target in total energy by 2030.
The world’s leading researchers on the energy transformation have developed dozens of science-based studies over several decades, using different methodologies and covering hundreds of regions around the world to see how can our world work with close-to 100 per cent renewables. They examined if it results in job losses and whether it is capable to provide a reliable power system.
They proposed that the target year needed for ending our CO2 and other climate-warming and air pollutant emissions could be as early as 2030 for the electric power sector and soon thereafter, but ideally no later than 2035, for other sectors. The core solution to meeting this timeline is to electrify or provide direct heat for all energy and provide the electricity and heat globally with 100 per cent renewable energy.
“The conclusion is clear: a global energy system powered by 100 per cent clean renewable energy is not just possible over the next 10-15 years, it can also save money, create jobs and wealth, save lives and get humanity ahead of the curve to prevent runaway climate change,” said world-renowned thought leader, author and Silicon Valley entrepreneur, Tony Seba. “It is economically, socially, geopolitically and environmentally irrational for us to kick the can down the road to 2050.”
Based on the findings, researchers urged action from governments to make clear commitments to implement these solutions.
The joint declaration gained large scale international support. In addition to the seven initial signatories, dozens of invited academics and other researchers working in the field of energy transformation at the leading universities and research institutes around the world have signed the statement. It also caught the attention of actor and climate activist Leonardo DiCaprio, who endorsed the declaration in a Twitter post.
Brian Vad Mathiesen, one of the leading researchers behind the concepts of Smart Energy Systems and electrofuels added that with low-cost renewable energy-based electricity in place in 2030 a parallel rapid transition and re-design of the national energy systems will be feasible, using a smart energy system approach combining electricity with energy-efficient buildings, district heating, electrified transport and industry, as well as energy storage.
“We provide a deep understanding of the technical solution: decision-makers now need to re-design the energy markets for the re-designed energy systems,” said Mr Mathiesen.