09 May 2011:
IPCC Says Renewables
Could Meet Most of Energy Needs by 2050
Renewable energy could meet 77 percent of the world’s power needs by mid-century if the right policies are put in place, according to a new report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
. According to the report, such a dramatic shift to renewable energy would produce a cumulative carbon dioxide emissions savings of 220 billion to 560 billion tons between 2010 and 2050, or up to a one-third reduction of projected emissions. In 2008, only about 13 percent of the world’s energy came from non-fossil fuel sources
, including the burning of firewood in developing nations, hydropower, and solar and wind power. But the report predicts that renewable energy technologies will become increasingly attractive economically if governments put a price on their environmental impacts, including greenhouse gas emissions and pollution. Should governments embrace renewable energy programs, concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere can probably be held below 450 parts per million, a major goal of the IPCC. “It is not the availability of the resource, but the public policies that will either expand or constrain renewable energy development over the coming decades,” said Ramon Pichs, co-chairman of the IPCC’s Working Group III, which compiled the report.
Yale Environment 360 is
a publication of the
Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
Yale Environment 360
articles are now available in Spanish and Portuguese on Universia
, the online educational network. Visit the site.
Business & Innovation
Policy & Politics
Pollution & Health
Science & Technology
Antarctica and the Arctic
Central & South America
Tribal people and ranchers join together to stop a project that would haul coal across their Montana land. Watch the video.
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile
An aerial view of why Europe’s per capita carbon emissions are less than 50 percent of those in the U.S. View the photos.
Ugandan scientists monitor the impact of climate change on one of Africa’s most diverse forests and its extraordinary wildlife. Learn more.
video series looks at the staggering amount of food wasted in the U.S. – a problem with major human and environmental costs. Watch the video.
video goes onto the front lines with Colorado firefighters confronting deadly blazes fueled by a hotter, drier climate. Watch the video.
A three-part series Tainted Harvest
looks at the soil pollution crisis in China, the threat it poses to the food supply, and the complexity of any cleanup. Read the series.