- JAN. 3, 2015, 2:46 PM
We will have the ability to rely almost exclusively on renewable, clean energy.
Ina Fassbender/ReutersWind turbines in Germany, with a coal power plant in the distance.
If the world invests enough in clean energy, we will be able to rely almost entirely on renewable energy by 2050 — cutting energy sector greenhouse gas emissions by 80%, according to a World Wildlife Fund (WWF) report. “[I]t is technically feasible to supply everyone on the planet in 2050 with the energy they need, with 95% of this energy coming from renewable sources,” the report said.
The report stresses, however, that this will only be possible if we sufficiently commit ourselves now to work toward that goal.
The achievement of that goal “does not demand radical changes to the way we live,” according to the WWF report. The changes involve technologies already available, won’t cost more than 2% of global GDP, and take into account increases in population and travel.
Solar energy, now comprising only .02% of the world’s energy supply, could provide half of the world’s electricity, half of building heating, and 15% of industrial heat and fuel in 2050, according to the report, which relies on findings from Ecofys.
Wind energy, which currently supplies only 2% of the world’s electricity, could provide 25% of the world’s electricity by 2050. Although that requires an additional million onshore and 100,000 offshore wind turbines, they will have low environmental impact with proper planning, such as development of turbines that float on water.