That $3 Trillion-a-Year Clean Energy Transformation? It’s Already Underway

(Inside Climate News, 15 Oct 2018) A landmark climate change report describes a shift in energy spending—away from fossil fuels and into clean energy—needed to keep global warming under 1.5 degrees.

To keep global warming in check, the world will have to invest an average of around $3 trillion a year over the next three decades in transforming its energy supply systems, a new United Nations climate science report says. It won't be cheap, but it's also a change that's already underway.

Much of that investment is money that would be spent on energy systems anyway. Instead of continuing to invest it in fossil fuel-based energy that worsens global warming and can harm human health, the report provides a pathway for shifting those investments to clean energy.

The landmark report, released Oct. 8 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), sums up years of research into the risks to people and ecosystems if global temperatures rise 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times, and it looks at how to stop that from happening. The planet has already warmed about 1°C, and it's gaining about 0.2°C every decade, the report says.

Keeping warming under 1.5°C will require a near complete shift from today's dependence on fossil fuels to a world powered almost entirely by clean energy, the IPCC says.

That transformation will require a global investment in clean energy and infrastructure of $1.6 trillion to $3.8 trillion a year (in 2010 U.S. dollars), with an average of about $3 trillion to $3.5 trillion a year from 2016 to 2050, the IPCC says. That compares to an estimated $2.4 trillion a year that would otherwise be invested in energy systems.

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Inside Climate News, 11 Oct 2018: That $3 Trillion-a-Year Clean Energy Transformation? It’s Already Underway