Experts believe that to keep global temperatures from rising more than two degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels, a goal of the Copenhagen Accord, the world’s energy emissions have to peak by 2020 and then quickly decline, reaching near-zero by approximately 2050.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration expects that electricity generation from renewable sources will increase to 16% in 2040.
Transportation is actually the fastest growing source of CO2 globally, and as such can offset the gains from installed renewable energy. The world car population topped one billion in 2011, and the International Transport Forum thinks it could reach 2.5 billion by 2050.
The 87 million barrels of oil produced globally each day could climb to 120 million barrels under that scenario.
If clean energy investments result in a 5% reduction in global fossil fuel demand, the law of supply and demand would result in a sharp 25% to 30% drop in fossil fuel prices, increasing non-renewables’ appeal to consumers.
Moving to renewables could take as long as 100 years.
“Even with wind and solar, it’s not simply zero emission — there are manufacturing costs, mining and maintenance issues. It should be said that the movement toward renewables has to be coupled with energy-efficiency efforts. The easiest way to reduce our large-scale carbon footprint is to become a lot more efficient…