Energy is at the heart of the
climate problem and is the key to the solution. Most of the greenhouse gases
that cover the earth and trap the sun's heat are produced through power
generation by burning fossil fuels to generate electricity and heat.
Fossil fuels such as coal, oil
and gas are by far the largest contributor to global climate change, accounting
for more than 75 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and about 90
percent of all carbon dioxide emissions.
The science is clear: To avoid
the worst effects of climate change, emissions need to be cut by almost half by
2030 and reach net zero by 2050.
To achieve this, we must end our
dependence on fossil fuels and invest in alternative sources. Clean,
accessible, affordable, sustainable and reliable energy Renewable energy
sources in abundance around us, powered by the sun, wind, water, waste and heat
from the Earth, are replenished by nature and emit little or no greenhouse
gases or pollutants into the air .
Fossil fuels still account for
more than 80 percent of global energy production, but cleaner energy sources
are gaining ground. Currently, about 29 percent of electricity comes from renewable
Here are five reasons why
accelerating the transition to clean energy is the path to a healthy, livable
planet for today and future generations.
1. Renewable energy sources
are all around us
About 80 percent of the global
population lives in net fossil fuel importing countries. That's about 6 billion
people from other countries who depend on fossil fuels, making them vulnerable
to geopolitical shocks and crises.
In contrast, renewable energy
sources are available in all countries and their potential has not yet been
fully exploited. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) estimates
that by 2050 90 percent of the world's electricity can and should come from
Renewables allow countries to
diversify their economies and protect them from the unpredictable price
fluctuations of fossil fuels, while providing inclusive economic growth, new
jobs and poverty reduction, providing a way out of dependency on imports.
2. Renewable energy is cheaper
Renewable energy is actually the
cheapest power option in many parts of the world today. Renewable energy
technologies prices are falling rapidly. The cost of solar electricity fell 85
percent between 2010 and 2020. Onshore, offshore and wind energy costs fell 56
percent and 48 percent, respectively.
Falling prices are making
renewable energy more attractive everywhere, including in low- and
middle-income countries, where most of the additional demand for new
electricity will come. With falling costs, there is a real opportunity for most
new power sources to come from low-carbon sources in the coming years.
Cheap electricity from renewable
sources could provide 65 percent of the world's total electricity supply by
2030. It could decarbonize 90 percent of the energy sector by 2050, drastically
reduce carbon emissions and help mitigate climate change.
Although solar and wind costs are
expected to remain higher than pre-pandemic levels in 2022 and 2023 due to generally
rising commodity and freight prices, their competitiveness has actually
increased due to much sharper increases in gas and coal prices (IEA).
3. Renewable energy is
According to the World Health
Organization (WHO), about 99 percent of people in the world breathe air that
exceeds air quality limits and threatens their health, and more than 13 million
deaths worldwide each year are due to preventable environmental causes,
including air pollution.
Unhealthy levels of fine
particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide come primarily from the burning of
fossil fuels. In 2018, air pollution from fossil fuels resulted in $2.9
trillion in health and economic costs, about $8 billion a day.
Switching to clean energy sources
such as wind and sun therefore helps address not only climate change but also
air pollution and health.
4. Renewable energy creates
Every $1 invested in renewables
creates three times more jobs than the fossil fuel industry. The IEA estimates
that the transition to net zero emissions will result in an overall increase in
energy sector jobs: By 2030, around 5 million jobs could be lost in fossil fuel
production, while an estimated 14 million new jobs will be created in clean
energy, resulting in net gains of 9 million.
In addition, energy-related
industries will need another 16 million workers to take on new roles, for
example in the manufacture of electric vehicles and hyper-efficient devices, or
in innovative technologies such as hydrogen. This means that by 2030, a total
of more than 30 million jobs could be created in clean energy, efficiency and
Ensuring a just transition will
be crucial to placing people's needs and rights at the center of the energy
transition, ensuring that no one is left behind.
5. Renewable energy is
About $5.9 trillion was spent
subsidizing the fossil fuel industry in 2020, including explicit subsidies, tax
breaks, and health and environmental damage not included in the cost of fossil
By contrast, around $4 trillion a
year will need to be invested in renewable energy by 2030, including technology
and infrastructure investments, to ensure we achieve net zero emissions by
For many countries with limited
resources, the upfront cost can be daunting and many will need financial and
technical support to make the transition happen. But investments in renewable
energy will pay off. Reducing pollution and climate impacts alone could save
the world up to $4.2 trillion a year by 2030.
In addition, efficient, reliable
renewable technologies can create a system less prone to market shocks and
improve flexibility and energy security by diversifying power supply options.
You can also read our articles titled “What is Renewable Energy?” and
“Renewable Energy in Turkey”.
Source: Renewable energy –powering a safer future