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February 09, 2011

WWF: Clean Energy Could Meet Most Global Energy Needs by 2050

A combination of energy efficiency and renewable energy can meet most global energy needs by 2050, according to a new report from WWF. The conservation organization released on February 3 a report examining how the world could shift to clean energy sources, drawing mainly on technologies available today. Part of the answer lies in energy efficiency, which can drive global energy demand in 2050 to a level 15% below the level reached in 2005, even when accounting for increased world electrification and increases in population, industrial output, freight, and travel, according to the report. The other key part of the answer is to shift primarily to electric energy sources, eliminating the use of liquid fuels for most purposes. That electricity would be primarily generated from renewable energy sources, and its use would be managed using Smart Grid technologies.

Two years in the making, The Energy Report: 100% Renewable Energy by 2050 finds that most of the world's energy needs can be met with renewable energy, with only isolated residual uses of fossil and nuclear fuels. Based on a detailed analysis by the energy consultancy Ecofys, the report projects an 80% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from the use of energy. And while the shift will require a concerted global effort, "similar to the global response to the world financial crisis," the savings start to outweigh the costs around 2040. By 2050, the authors project a savings of about 4 trillion Euros per year, or about $5.4 trillion. The two-part report includes the Ecofys analysis in part 2 and an overview and analysis by WWF in part 1. See the WWF press release and The Energy Report.

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