Renewable energy, electrification and efficiency would save the global economy $160 trillion over the next 30 years. A rapid transition to renewable energy, “deep” electrification, and energy efficiency are also the most cost effective ways to keep temperatures below the upper threshold limit of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). These are the finding of a report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) titled the Global energy transformation: A roadmap to 2050 (2019 edition). The $160 trillion in cost savings are derived from 30 years of cumulative savings from avoided health costs, energy subsidies and climate damages. Electrification of the transportation sector could grow the electric vehicle market from five million to one billion. Renewable energy consumption could go from 16.6 percent to 66 percent.
The REmap 2030 report included energy efficiency initiatives in the transportation sector, buildings and industry. According to this report the heating sector alone could see a 16-fold increase in high-efficiency electric heat pumps. We would also see massive investments in insulation and LED lighting technologies.
IEA research indicates that the health and productivity benefits from green buildings and high-efficiency industrial processes could increase cumulative economic output through 2035 by $18 trillion.
According to the IRENA’s 2019 report, every dollar invested will yield a 7 fold return. These are alluring incentives that are attracting investors. The only question is how long it will take governments to muster the political courage to expedite a rapid transition.