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Report: Transition to Renewable Energy Possible by 2050

A new report from Greenpeace outlines how the world can transition away from fossil fuels to 100 percent renewable energy by the year 2050. Credit: Dmitry Rukhlenko/iStockphoto.
A new report from Greenpeace outlines how the world can transition away from fossil fuels to 100 percent renewable energy by the year 2050. Credit: Dmitry Rukhlenko/iStockphoto.
October 1, 2015

AUSTIN, Texas – The world can transition to 100 percent renewable energy by the year 2050, according to a new report from Greenpeace.

The plan calls for phasing out oil and gas at a rate that matches the depletion of existing fields, and warns exploration for new fields should be seen as high-risk investments since those fossil assets could end up stranded in a clean energy future.

Kelly Mitchell, energy campaign director with Greenpeace USA, calls the study a road map showing the move is possible, but says it's not a crystal ball.

"We're at the point now where there is no shortage of technical and scientific and human solutions to the climate crisis," she states. "But what continues to be lacking is the political will."

The report found moving to clean energy could create more than 20 million new jobs between now and 2030.

Mitchell says the transition won't happen overnight, and since more than 2 million people would still be employed in the fossil energy sector by 2030, there is time to re-train workers.

Greenpeace says moving to 100 percent renewables would require a strong agreement at the World Climate Summit scheduled in Paris later this year.

Mitchell admits weaning the world's economies off of coal, oil, nuclear and eventually natural gas will require significant investments.

The report projects the price tag for transitioning to clean energy could reach $1 trillion a year until the year 2030.

"But the good news is that as consumers we get all of that money back through fuel cost savings," she points out. "Because the sun and wind provide free power every single day of the year."

Mitchell notes the study is in line with science showing up to 80 percent of existing fossil fuels must stay in the ground in order to keep temperatures from rising above 2 degrees Celsius – a marker scientists project could maintain a habitable climate.

Mitchell says all that's needed now are world leaders willing to put the plan to work.

Eric Galatas, Public News Service - TX