139 Countries Will be Powered by 100% Renewable Energy by 2050

Sunday, September 3, 2017 - 13:47

A group of researchers from Stanford's Mark Z. Jacobson and 26 colleagues declared that Nearly 140 countries could be powered 100 percent by solar, wind, hydropower and geothermal energy by 2050.

Such a transition could mean less worldwide energy consumption due to the efficiency of clean, renewable electricity; a net increase of over 24 million long-term jobs; an annual decrease in 4-7 million air pollution deaths per year; stabilization of energy prices; and annual savings of over $20 trillion in health and climate costs, phys.org reports.

This new study is a follow up to hotly debated research appearing in 2015 suggesting that the United States could switch to 100 percent clean, renewable energy by 2050. It now covers nearly the entire world. The scientists analyzed 139 countries for which data was publicly available from the International Energy Agency. These 139 collectively emit more than 99 percent of the global warming gas carbon dioxide worldwide.

“What I find most exciting about the results of this study is that every country that we examined has sufficient resources to power itself, although in the case of a couple of tiny countries with very high populations, this might require either importing energy from their neighbor or using an unusually high amount of offshore energy,” says study leader Mark Z. Jacobson, director of Stanford University's Atmosphere and Energy Program.

"Aside from eliminating emissions and avoiding 1.5 degrees Celsius global warming and beginning the process of letting carbon dioxide drain from the Earth's atmosphere, transitioning eliminates 4-7 million air pollution deaths each year and creates over 24 million long-term, full-time jobs by these plans," Jacobson says. "What is different between this study and other studies that have proposed solutions is that we are trying to examine not only the climate benefits of reducing carbon but also the air pollution benefits, job benefits, and cost benefits"

"This paper helps push forward a conversation within and between the scientific, policy, and business communities about how to envision and plan for a decarbonized economy," writes Mark Dyson of Rocky Mountain Institute, in an accompanying preview of the paper. "The scientific community's growing body of work on global low-carbon energy transition pathways provides robust evidence that such a transition can be accomplished, and a growing understanding of the specific levers that need to be pulled to do so. Jacobson et al.'s present study provides sharper focus on one scenario, and refines a set of priorities for near-term action to enable it."

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