Accelerating energy transitions on a path to climate safety can grow the global economy by 2.4 per cent over the expected growth of current plans within the next decade and create 122 million energy-related jobs by 2050, according to a report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
The agency’s roadmap to keeping the 1.5 degree-warming target foresees a jobs boost of more than double today’s 58 million, with renewable energy accounting for more than a third of energy jobs and employing 43 million people, supporting long-term economic growth, IRENA said.
Forward-looking policies and annual investment of approximately USD $4.4 trillion will be required to accelerate transitions, guard against risk, and ensure maximum benefits of energy transition, noted IRENA in its World Energy Transitions Outlook
. Despite the high level of investment needed, the report says this is feasible and equals to around five per cent of global GDP in 2019.
“This Outlook represents a concrete, practical toolbox to total reorientation of the global energy system and writes a new and positive energy narrative as the sector undergoes a dynamic transition,” said IRENA Director General Francesco La Camera in a statement. “There is consensus that an energy transition grounded in renewables and efficient technologies is the only way to give us a fighting chance of limiting global warming by 2050 to 1.5°C. As the only realistic option for a climate-safe world, IRENA’s vision has become mainstream.”
“Energy transformation will drive economic transformation,” continued La Camera. “Energy transition is a daunting task but can bring unprecedented new possibilities to revitalise economies and lift people out of poverty. IRENA’s Outlook brings unique value as it also outlines the policy frameworks and financing structures necessary to advance a transition that is just and inclusive. Each country will define what is the best for them, but collectively, we must ensure that all countries and regions can realise the benefits of the global energy transition for a resilient and more equitable world. We have the know-how, we have the tools, we need to act, and do so now.”
The report notes the next decade will be crucial to achieving the Paris Agreement and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, with the phasing out of coal, reductions in oil and gas investment and embracing technology, policy and market solutions all necessary. By 2050, a total USD $33 trillion of additional investment is required into efficiency, renewables, end-use electrification, power grids, flexibility, hydrogen and innovations, it adds.