Gland, Switzerland — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 04 February 2011 – Almost all of the world’s demand for energy for electricity, transportation and heating could be met from renewable sources such as wind, solar and geothermal power by 2050, according to WWF International.
“The Energy Report” “’ a report produced over two years by WWF with researchers at Dutch organisations Ecofys and the Office for Metropolitan Architecture “’ claimed that the share of oil, coal, gas and nuclear power in the global energy mix could be whittled down to 5% over the next four decades. Energy saving measures could cut total demand by 15% from 2005 levels, even as the population, industrial output, freight and passenger travel rise,” they said.
The effort would require 3.5 trillion euro’s (US$4.8 trillion) a year in spending by 2035 on modernising buildings and electricity grids and expanding wind farms and solar parks. It would take until 2040 to pay off.
“This is insurance against the volatility of oil and gas prices and climate change,” Stephan Singer “’ editor of the study and director of energy policy at WWF “’ said from Brussels. “It can be done using currently available technologies and ones due in the market in the next few years,” he added.
Ecofys is a Utrecht, Netherlands-based energy consultant, and WWF, based in Gland, Switzerland, is known as the World Wildlife fund in the United States. The Rotterdam-based office for Metropolitan Architecture’s AMO research arm, which studies architecture and clean energy, also contributed to the study.
The Paris-based International Energy Agency last year estimated that US$33 trillion of energy infrastructure investment was needed by 2035 if countries were to meet their international commitments to limit greenhouse gases.
“That figure, which averages out at US$1.3 trillion a year, doesn’t include consumer purchases of goods such as more efficient cars and refrigerators, which are included in the WWF study,” Singer said. “Those alone could total another US$2 trillion a year, closing the gap with the IEA research,” he added.
Singer went on to say that new technologies that weren’t currently close to commercialisation could make it possible to get 100% of the world’s energy needs from renewables by 2050. Inefficient products should be phased out, and strong, legally-binding standards should be implemented for all energy using products, he said.
“Achieving the ramp-up in energy efficiency and renewable power would require behaviour changes, including eating less meat, using more public transport, and electrifying cars,” he pointed out. “New financing models will be needed to promote investments that generate long-term gains rather than immediate profits,” he said.
“Sufficiency must be part of the solution “’ technology is not the sole provider,” Singer stated. “The global middle classes and the global rich of this world are not a blueprint model for the poor.”