UN vision for a green century

The Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said in a report that the availability of renewable sources like wind, and sun was virtually unlimited, and could provide 77 per cent of the world’s energy needs by mid-century, but governments must adopt policies to take advantage of them.

“The report shows that it is not the availability of the resource, but the public policies that will either expand or constrain renewable energy development over the coming decades,” Ramon Pichs Madruga, a member of the IPCC and the director of an economics research centre in Cuba, said on Monday.

The report said renewable sources — bioenergy, wind, solar, geothermal, hydroelectric power and ocean energy — accounted for about 13 per cent of global energy supplies now. Reaching the goal of generating nearly 80 per cent of the world’s energy from those same sources would require investments by governments and the private sector amounting to $5.1 trillion through 2020, and nearly $7.2 trillion between 2021 and 2030, according to the report.

The benefits would include better public health from cleaner air, as well as fewer greenhouse gas emissions, which would help hold an increase in global temperature to less than 2 degrees Celsius.

“Even so, a substantial increase of renewables is technically and politically very challenging,” said Ottmar Eden-hofer, a member of the IPCC and the chief economist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany. Among the most challenging factors is the need to use a wider variety of technically and geographically diverse sources of energy in the future, according to the report.

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