A new report highlights 15 signals of an energy transition occurring across the world, indicating a sustainable and equitable global energy system has irrevocably begun.
The signs, detailed in a report by WWF-France and WWF-China, provide encouragement that the transition can be found just about everywhere; from the growth in renewable energy to companies committing to slash their carbon footprints.
Some of the signals include:
- Renewables accounted for 90 per cent new electricity generation globally last year, while making up just half of it the year before.
- Solar PV electricity generation costs have plummeted more than 80 per cent since 2009 and forecasts indicate a continued fall of up to 59 per cent in 2025. If this occurs, solar PV will become the cheapest form of power generation.
- Global investments in renewables-based generation reached a new world record in 2015, hitting US$286 billion invested. China’s investments alone were US$103 billion.
- Renewable energy employment attained a record high in 2015, with 8.1 million jobs recorded. Solar power was the largest sector, employing 2.8 million globally.
- More than 170 large companies, including energy intensive firms, have signed on to adopt science based emissions targets.
- China may have already reached a coal consumption peak and globally, the coal industry faces declining prices and higher costs.
- Global energy related carbon emissions stagnated for the second year in a row last year, despite 3 per cent economic growth.
- Projections versus reality show international agencies have underestimated the potential of renewable energy technologies.
“These changes mark a significant shift in our global energy use, but we can’t stop here,” says WWF.
“It looks as though 2016 will go down in the record books as the hottest year ever recorded. It’s a reminder that we have precious little time left to act to keep global temperatures below 2°C.”
WWF is urging the pace of transition to be accelerated through actions including removing fossil fuel subsidies, increasing support for renewables and putting a price on carbon.
15 Signals : Evidence The Energy Transition Is Underway can be viewed in full here (PDF).