The Earth’s climate emergency requires the completion of a zero-emissions economy much sooner than the generally discussed target year of 2050. A target year needed for ending our CO2 and other climate-warming and air pollutant emissions is proposed to be 2030 for the electric power sector and soon thereafter, but ideally no later than 2035, for other sectors. The core solution to meeting this timeline is to electrify or provide direct heat for all energy and provide the electricity and heat globally with 100% renewable energy (RE).
To date, 11 countries have reached or exceeded 100% renewable electricity; 12 countries have passed laws to reach 100% renewable electricity by 2030; 49 countries have passed laws to reach 100% renewable electricity by 2050; 14 U.S. states and territories have passed laws or executive orders to reach up to 100% renewable electricity by between 2030 and 2050; over 300 cities worldwide have passed laws to reach 100% renewable electricity by no later than 2050; and over 280 international businesses have committed to 100% renewables across their global operations. However, only Denmark has passed laws to reach 100% renewable energy across all sectors, and it is by 2050.
In the public debate, policies to reach 100% renewables across all energy sectors are few in number, and by 2035 are non-existent. Some have considered such policies impractical. Based on old data, even major bodies, such as IRENA and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), have only demanded to achieve 70% RE by 2050. The EU as a whole has only a 32% RE target in total energy by 2030, Germany has only a 65% target in the electric power sector.
The world’s leading researchers on wholesale energy transitions, some who have been researching for almost two decades the realization of a complex and secure energy supply with 100% RE, have summarized the findings of their research in a 10 point declaration. Their main message is: The transformation to 100% renewables is possible and will be coming much faster than the general expectation. A 100% renewable electricity supply is possible by 2030, and with substantial political will around the world, 100% renewable energy is also technically and economically feasible across all other sectors by 2035. A 100% RE system will be more cost effective than will a future system based primarily on fossil and nuclear power. The transformation to 100% renewables will boost the global economy, create millions more jobs than lost, and substantially reduce health problems and mortality due to pollution.