A new study claims to leave little room for doubt that the world can run 100 percent on renewable energy, and it even maps how individual countries should best make this transition—by mid-century.
The main barriers to overhauling the global energy system “are social and political,” said Mark Z. Jacobson, lead study author. “They aren’t technical or economic,” added Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford University.
Jacobson and his Stanford colleagues published the analysis in a draft paper online to coincide with the start of global climate talks in Paris on Nov. 30. In those vastly complicated negotiations, most of the world’s nations have agreed on at least one thing: keeping the earth’s warming to within 2-degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels—a target that scientists agree is relatively safe for the planet––will require a wholesale transformation of the world’s energy economy.
The paper, which will likely be submitted to scientific journals for publication next year, offers detailed roadmaps showing how most countries can make the switch to run entirely on clean energy across all sectors, from electricity to transportation to agriculture, as early as 2050.
“The burden of proof is now on the people who want to grow fossil fuels in any shape or form to explain to [the public] why they are doing something that we know is worse for the planet,”