Renewing the economy: clean energy key to growth


While investors and global leaders crunch numbers this week to stabilize the global economy, experts are offering hard-hitting numbers linking renewables to a prosperous future. Just a few days ahead of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) revealed that if the world doubled its current market share of renewable energy to 36 per cent by 2030, global GDP could experience a boost of up to 1.1 per cent. This figure would represent the equivalent of $1.3 trillion in growth – more than the combined economies of Chile, South Africa and Switzerland – and would put the “Paris climate goals within reach.” The findings come as new figures show renewables investments hit a new high last year with China and the US topping the table. Yet other regions are falling behind and could risk missing out: former clean energy leader Europe saw renewable investment fall to an eight-year low; and Australia is still turning a blind eye to the millions of potential jobs created and hundreds of billions of fossil fuel import dollars saved through renewables. Despite efforts to stagnate the ongoing transition towards a renewables-only future, upcoming Davos meetings could act as a turning point for world leaders, setting apart those who are ahead of the curve and those who aren’t.


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  • “The Paris agreement set a long-term vision for the deep reduction of global emissions and the need to decarbonise the energy sector. The Irena assembly must now take the next steps and establish a blueprint for action to meet our climate goals and set the world on a path to a sustainable energy future.” – Adnan Amin, Irena’s director general
  • “The [UK] government is kicking the onshore wind industry off the ladder too soon. Without some form of change in policy support, we could see investment drop off a cliff after 2019.” – David Hostert, an analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance
  • “Wind and solar energy are at the point of becoming really competitive with fossil fuels, but failure to support them for another few years will result in huge losses of potential jobs.” – Dr Doug Parr, chief scientist and policy director at Greenpeace UK
  • “These [2015 renewables investment] figures are a stunning riposte to all those who expected clean energy investment to stall on falling oil and gas prices. They highlight the improving cost-competitiveness of solar and wind power.” – Michael Liebreich, founder of the London-based research arm of Bloomberg LP.

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