IPCC releases defining report on renewable energy

9 May 2011

LONDON: The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released a new authoritative report on renewable energy in Abu Dhabi today.

The report shows that close to 80% of the world‘s energy supply could be met by renewables by the mid-century, leading to greenhouse gas (GHG) savings equivalent to 220 to 560 gigatons of CO2 between 2010 and 2050.

These GHG savings would help reach the goal recognized in the United Nations Climate Convention's Cancun Agreements, of holding the increase in global temperature below two degrees Celsius.

Expected by many to be a defining study, the report is likely to influence government policy and business investment decisions over the next five years and beyond in the renewable energy sector, driving the Clean Revolution.

The stated objective of the Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation (SRREN), is to address the information needs of both public and private sector decision makers. According to the IPCC, the report provides this through assessment of renewable energy technologies and the policy and financial instruments needed for their deployment.

Speaking at the report launch, Rajendra Pachauri, Chairman, IPCC, said: "The IPCC brought together the most relevant and best available information to provide the world with this scientific assessment of the potential of renewable energy sources to mitigate climate change. The Special Report can serve as a sound knowledge basis for policymakers to take on this major challenge of the 21st century."

The report covers six key renewable technology areas:

  • bioenergy (e.g. biofuels, biomass)
  • direct solar energy (e.g. photo voltaic and concentrated solar power)
  • geothermal energy
  • hydropower
  • ocean energy (e.g. tidal, wave)
  • wind energy

Other chapters in the report look at the integration of renewable energy into both present and future energy systems, the role of renewables in sustainable development, and the mitigation opportunities and costs of the technologies assessed.

Decision makers will also gain greater understanding of energy resources by region, current and projected market and technology development, economic, social, and environmental costs and benefits, and the impact on energy security at national, regional and global level.

Because the IPCC’s itself does not undertake primary research but instead draws on existing peer reviewed research, the SRREN is unlikely to contain many surprises for professionals in the renewable energy sector. This does not undermine the value of the report, however. Like the IPCC’s comprehensive climate Assessment Reports, the SRREN will provide an independent benchmark for decision makers, particularly those in government.

Mark Kenber, CEO, The Climate Group says: “It is satisfying to see the recognition of the renewable energy sector’s huge potential for powering a Clean Revolution that creates long-term low carbon growth and prosperity. The Climate Group hopes that this exhaustive report from the IPCC spurs a range of transformative actions by government and the private sector, particularly over the short to medium term. These actions can accelerate deployment, drive innovation and bring down costs so we achieve the most ambitious scenarios as quickly as possible. The facts are clear; what is needed now is the leadership to turn the rhetoric into reality.”

Read more on the IPCC SRREN report

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