Renewable Energy | VOL. 9, ISSUE 57, November-December 2009

Energy versus Climate Change

The problem of global warming requires immediate reductions of carbon emissions. Limiting temperature increase below 2°C requires the reduction of worldwide average per capita emissions to 0.3t carbon annually which is equal to India’s level today. Such a great cut of the world’s emissions requires cumulative investments in energy supply infrastructure of $22 trillion by 2030. Achieving a sustainable future balance between global economic growth, energy supply and climate protection is one of today’s greatest challenges. As stated by various sources global energy demand will grow substantially and is predicted to be up to 50 per cent higher in year 2030 compared to the 2005 level. With a share of around 80 per cent, non-OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries account for the bulk of this increase in energy demand driven by a strong economic growth in countries such as China, India and Brazil. Two features of the future energy mix, however, will remain constant throughout many energy scenarios: First high growth rates for renewable energies and secondly the vast majority of global energy supplies continuing to rely on fossil fuels at least until 2030. Even with an alternative scenario which assumes a lesser increase in the global energy demand, the proportion of fossil energy sources would be around 75 to 80 per cent. Thus if the ambitious goal of a 20 per...

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