Changing energy use | WWF
© Global Warming Images / WWF

Changing energy use

WWF’s work on energy aims to shift the world to a low-carbon economy by promoting clean, renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Why it matters

Over half of the world’s electricity is produced by burning coal, oil and gas. Fossil fuels release billions of tonnes of carbon dioxide and are the biggest driver of climate change. But it doesn’t have to be this way. 

By reducing the world’s reliance on fossil fuels through renewable energy technologies, energy efficiency and access to renewable energy in the developing world, we can avoid runaway climate change.

Renewable energy is generated from natural resources such as water, wind, solar, biomass and geothermal sources. If done smartly, renewable energy projects generate much less pollution than fossil fuel, generate jobs, and greater self-reliance.

What WWF is doing

WWF’s Energy Report projects that by 2050 all of the world’s energy needs could be met through renewable sources. WWF's work supports policies and projects that propel us closer to making this a reality closer .

To enable a worldwide shift to clean, renewable energy, we need:
Support for research, development and implementation. The fossil fuel industry has benefited from taxpayer support over the last century. This means renewable energy is not on a level playing field with old, dirty power sources. Yet, without subsidies, fossil fuels would not be cost-effective.
Renewable energy sources such as solar, onshore wind and geothermal are becoming cheaper every day and being implemented at large scale. To realise the full potential of renewable energy, government policies need to foster e research, development and deployment of renewable energy and clean technology.
Grid development and renovation. To cope with variable renewable energy sources and to tap into renewable energy sources where and when they are most available, our electricity grids need a serious overhaul. Changes to ageing grid and storage infrastructure will come at a cost and will need bold political and private-sector backing. The benefits far outweigh the cost of inaction.

Large-scale, innovative projects. Large-scale solar power projects and offshore wind parks can bring costs down and deliver large, reliable volumes of clean energy to people, helping to curb global warming.

Integration of renewable energy and nature conservation. Replacing dirty fossil fuels with renewable energy will substantially reduce the burden of pollution on wildlife. Like any new development, however, renewable energy needs to be done with care so we don’t threaten nature conservation efforts and biodiversity.
Energy efficiency measures. Energy efficiency is the most cost-effective tool for cutting carbon emissions while meeting global energy needs. It’s a crucial part of efforts cut dependence on fossil fuels. Voluntary measure often don’t make substantial cuts to wasteful energy use.

Technology cooperation and support for developing countries. While the EU and countries like the US and China are investing strongly in renewable energy, many countries in Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia have seen very little renewable energy development. Substantial additional investment is needed from developed nations under mechanisms such as the 2015 Paris Agreement.
Clean energy access for all. Climate change solutions go hand in hand with the sustainable development of the world’s most vulnerable communities. Appropriate renewable energy projects can empower people. Through our Energy Access Strategy, WWF works towards eradicating energy poverty globally by 2030. We do this by demonstrating viable, sustainable solutions for people who today live without basic access to electricity.

Energy for all

© Global Warming Images / WWF

WWF’s work to eradicate energy poverty has four pillars:

1. Policy. By promoting national and local policies that articulate a pathway for eradicating energy poverty by 2030.

2. Models. By scaling up existing partnerships and developing new ones to identify and create socially, environmentally and financially sound models for energy access.

3. Institutions and capacity. By strengthening the capacity of local and national institutions and enterprises for long-term solutions in developing communities.

4. Finance. By mobilising and influencing funders and financial institutions to develop innovative support schemes and business models; those that see successful initiatives grow and spread.

Cool & Solar

© WWF-US / Paul Fetters

Our world has been far too slow in recognizing the potential that sustainable cooling and solar energy offer as a solution to the climate crisis, and implementing this at scale. WWF’s Cool & Solar initiative is working to change this through our Cool & Solar initiative. 

Find out more about Cool & Solar.

Alliance of Civil Society Organisations for Clean Energy Access (ACCESS)