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.
- Climate is at the top of the global agenda and is there to stay. Up until last year, climate change had been noticeably absent from the Davos agenda. Since then, a considerable number of sessions made climate change the focal point of their presentations in 2015, and during 2016 meetings — just one month after delivering the Paris Agreement — climate will once again be a topline issue for world leaders.
- Fossils are falling, but not fast enough. During last month’s Paris climate meetings, world leaders agreed to widen the way for a clean, safe future. While the momentum encapsulated in the Paris Agreement is in the process of “implementation and action,” replacing fossil fuels with renewables swiftly will allow the world to benefit from an energy transformation that protects millions of lives, creates new jobs, saves billions of dollars, and tackles energy poverty.
- Forward-looking economies around the world are growing and going green. 2015 saw renewable energy reach a record $329.3 billion in investment worldwide. Countries from China to Chile, South Africa to Brazil are reaping the benefits of clean energy, but former leader Europe’s often uncertain or changing national policies are a shot in the foot for jobs and growth. As leaders meet in Switzerland, those with real renewables ambition translated into strong energy policy will gain the most for their country’s citizens and its economy.