Top climate change panel to launch groundbreaking renewable energy report



Posted on 03 May 2011  | 
Most of the world's methods of producing, distributing and using energy are highly inefficient, and contribute to increasing levels of carbon dioxide emissions.
© WWF-Canon / Anton VorauerEnlarge
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is expected to launch an extensive and long-awaited report on renewable energy May 9 in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates.

The 900-page Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation is significant because it compares 164 scenarios on renewable energy and is the most comprehensive analysis ever of trends and perspectives for renewable energy.

Preceding the launch, from 5 to 8 May, more than 100 governments will negotiate the Summary for Policy Makers.

The report comes after the launch earlier this year of WWF's vision for achieving a 100% renewable energy future by 2050, the most ambitious scenario of any published so far. This vision – The Energy Report – is based on a detailed scenario by energy consultancy Ecofys and shows the opportunities but also the challenges of such a development based on existing technologies.

The Energy Report unfortunately came too late to be considered by IPCC authors for inclusion in the IPCC analysis.

Although unique in its epic scope, the IPCC therefore underestimates the potential of deploying renewable energy even faster, especially when combined with top level energy efficiency, WWF said.

“IPCC delivers a landmark report that shows the rapid growth potential for renewable energy – but unfortunately does not endorse a 100% renewable energy pathway until 2050,” said Stephan Singer, Director for Global Energy Policy at WWF International.

“WWF’s report adds that missing piece – a bold vision with a clear timeline. We need to be fast if we want to tackle pressing issues as varied as energy security and efficiency, and at the same time keep climate change below the danger threshold."

The 164 scenarios compared in the IPCC report show that renewable energy is projected to remain the fastest growing energy source. Renewables beat fossils in global and regional availability; most of them will also see substantive cost reductions in the next decades, particularly solar energy.

“There are no real alternatives to energy efficiency and renewables,” said Singer. “As oil and gas within easy reach are dwindling, the world needs to move to clean and sustainable sources of energy and avoid any investment into dirty alternatives.”

WWF agrees with the IPCC that the recent large growth in clean energy investments and the simultaneous cost reductions in wind and solar energy provide a strong start for renewable energy expansion.

“If we want to bring renewables out of the niche and substitute fossil and nuclear fuels, we need to see substantive policy change and financial support in all regions of the world,” said Singer. “IPCC has done a great job in identifying both – the big challenges and the even larger opportunities and benefits of renewable energy for all nations.”

It is no coincidence that the IPCC report on renewable energy is being launched in the UAE, the country with the sixth and seventh largest proven reserves of oil and gas respectively.

“The UAE has started to make laudable efforts to diversify its energy mix and is fast becoming a leading country in clean energy development”, says Tanzeed Alam, Policy Director of Emirates Wildlife Society in association with WWF(EWS-WWF). “Our studies for the UAE Ecological Footprint Initiative show that by 2030 Abu Dhabi could reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 40% powered by a rapidly growing renewable energy sector that surpasses current targets.”

Most of the world's methods of producing, distributing and using energy are highly inefficient, and contribute to increasing levels of carbon dioxide emissions.
© WWF-Canon / Anton Vorauer Enlarge

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