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Green power can save the planet – and $160 trillion: Irena

International Renewable Energy Agency says accelerated energy transition can deliver climate goals and big economic benefits

A combination of faster renewables growth and deeper electrification can help the world meet its climate goals and save the global economy $160 trillion over the next 30 years, claims new research from the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena).

The organisation’s Global Energy Transformation: A Roadmap to 2050 says the twin-track approach could deliver 75% of the emissions reductions needed to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, if accompanied by greater penetration into heating and transport.

New Irena chief calls for harder push into transport and heat

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Director-general Francesco La Camera – making his first appearance at a major event since taking the reins at Irena as he launched the report at the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue – said: “The race to secure a climate safe future has entered a decisive phase.

“Renewable energy is the most effective and readily-available solution for reversing the trend of rising CO2 emissions”

The $160trn savings bonanza would come from “avoided health costs, energy subsidies and climate damages”, said Irena, as it outlined a scenario in which electricity accounts for half of the global final energy by 2050 – and 86% of that power comes from renewables. Every dollar spent on the energy transition would reap a payback up to sevenfold, it claimed

“The shift towards renewables makes economic sense,” said La Camera. “By mid-century, the global economy would be larger, and jobs created in the energy sector would boost global employment by 0.2%.”

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