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A clean energy future starts now!

3 February 2011


Our new Energy Report confirms that all the world’s energy needs could be provided cleanly, sustainably and economically by the year 2050. Renewable energy is the way ahead. Fossil fuels like oil and coal could become relics of the past. And the sooner we start planning for that cleaner, greener world, the sooner it can be a reality.

The Energy Report

The new Energy Report we’ve launched today shows that turning the world’s energy supplies green is not only possible, it’s absolutely essential.

Our report makes it clear that by 2050 the world’s power, transport, industrial and domestic energy needs could potentially be met entirely from renewable sources.

And that won’t just be good for energy security, it will also cut environmental pollution and, crucially, reduce the catastrophic impacts of climate change. A 100% renewable energy future would mean carbon emissions from energy dropping by over 80% worldwide by 2050.

The drive for renewable power must include the development of new international grids – for instance better electricity grid connections between the UK and Europe. ‘Smart’ grids are also needed to help balance energy demand with supply.

Our Energy Report also calls for a big global effort to seriously improve the energy efficiency of our economies. To achieve a 100% renewable energy future, we must do more with less energy – under the report’s scenario total global energy demand will actually be at least 15% lower in 2050 than in 2005, thanks to new technologies. And that’s despite the predicted increases in population, industrial output and travel, including electric vehicles.

To provide reliable, affordable and clean energy on the scale required will need a global effort – similar to the response to the world financial crisis. The financial benefits of lower energy costs will be huge, with global savings of around €4 trillion by 2050. And that doesn’t take into account avoided costs associated with climate change, or the additional benefits of renewable energy such as improved health, and increases in green jobs.

Right now, we need the UK government to encourage substantial upfront investments and ambitious energy savings. The current reform of the electricity market is the perfect chance to deliver a nearly carbon-free power sector and strongly promote sustainable low-carbon technologies.

Before pouring billions into creating a new generation of nuclear or gas power stations, we need to ask whether that money would be better invested in other, more sustainable energy technologies – especially if those other technologies create lots of new UK jobs.

As WWF’s director general, Jim Leape, sums it up: “The Energy Report shows that in four decades we can have a world of vibrant economies and societies powered entirely by clean, cheap and renewable energy, and with a vastly improved quality of life… But we must start now.”

You can…
Read the full report (PDF 14MB)
Read our recommendations for the UK


Posted by Yael (WWF) on 07/02/11 17:28
@John Weber - thanks for sharing your blog. The Report fully accounts for the material energy impacts of producing renewable sources of power - check out the part 2 of the report for technical analysis.
@David M. Davison – thanks. I’ll pass your comment to our design team.
Posted by Yael (WWF) on 07/02/11 17:26
@Llewellyn James: if you read the second part of the report (page 89 onward) you will find the technical data and information which this report is based on.
@Rhisiart Gwilym: Thanks for your idea – we’ll consider sending the report to Oil Drum (feel free to pass on to any contacts you have)
Posted by Yael (WWF) on 07/02/11 17:23
Thanks for the comments, good this is a topic that's getting people interested. We've sent the report to a wide range of commentators & are keen for it to be debated. It is designed to open up the debate on how to achieve a 100% renewable energy future and poses a number of key challenges & choice
Posted by barbryn on 06/02/11 18:53
Genuine question for the sceptical: are you making your comments having actually read the analysis and arguments in the report, or are you just trotting out your pre-conceived ideas on the basis of a short news article?
Posted by Beast Of Bodmin on 06/02/11 12:56
@Rhisiart Gwilym - Thre is already a mention on theoildrum.com here.

Posted by Rhisiart Gwilym on 05/02/11 08:29
PLEASE submit this report for comment to the people at The Oil Drum (particularly, for example, Jeffrey Brown/Westexas), and to Dmitry Orlov and John Michael Greer at their respective blogs before you try to publicise it widely. The ideas that you're suggesting are absolute non-starters.
Posted by kenneth on 05/02/11 05:48
is this a joke? is there really anyone out there that is so ignorant of energy/economic issues as to buy what this guy is selling?
Posted by cesar lopez on 04/02/11 17:23
When the Titanic started taking on water, this guy named Jim wrote a 300 page report on how lifeboats weren't needed because the time and resources to build an entire, even better, and more "vibrant" oceanliner were available.
Posted by cesar lopez on 04/02/11 17:00
"we can have a world of vibrant economies and societies powered entirely by clean, cheap and renewable energy, and with a vastly improved quality of life…"
Really Jim? You mean we can have our cake and eat it too? Everyone can? Yipeee!
Slaughterhouses play soothing music to calm sheep.
Posted by Rolf Westgard on 04/02/11 10:06
This article is nonsense. Wind and diffuse solar lack the scale. Biofuels devastate the environment for a small % of fuels. Smart grids won't help with few renewable electrons to transmit.
And the consistent government policies sought are susidies.
Posted by Llewellyn James on 03/02/11 21:13
Is there any sound scientific evidence this would actually work? Oil, coal and NG have proved the test of time in fact we use oil either directly/indirectly for everything.
We're also starting from such a low point for renewables.
Posted by Robin Datta on 03/02/11 20:36
It weold be interesting to know what Charlie Hall, Gail TverberG, Stuart Standiford or the other cognoscenti might say.
Posted by John Weber on 03/02/11 15:59
I invite you to read my essay - Energy in the Real World - at my blog:http://sunweber.blogspot.com/
and look at the pictures accompanying it.
Posted by David M. Davison on 03/02/11 09:27
The report looks very interesting but why is it laid out in columns? This makes it awkward/tedious to read on a computer screen/eBook.

Is it too much to ask for such reports to be laid out like a book?
Posted by David M. Davison on 03/02/11 09:16
The report looks very interesting but why is it laid out in columns? This makes it awkward/tedious to read on a computer screen/eBook.

is it too much to ask for such reports to be laid out like a book?
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