photos (L-R): John Norton/Creative Commons;dtsomp/Creative Commons
The latest report from the International Energy Agency on renewable energy is out and in many ways it's a hard splash of cold water across the face. Among many things, the Clean Energy Progress Report shows that since 1990 renewable energy as a whole has grown 2.7% per year, but electrical generation as a whole has grown by 3%--with just under half of that coming from coal since the turn of the century. How do change this situation (which the IEA says we should do by the way)? Do something that is the exact opposite of what Republicans are suggesting in their latest budget proposals: Slash subsidies for fossil fuels and shift that public investment towards renewables.
In 2009 renewables got $57 billion in government support, while fossil fuels received $312 billion.
As that all applies to cutting carbon emissions, if the goal is hitting a 50% target in reduction of emissions from energy generation by 2050, by 2020 renewable energy production will have to double from current levels.
The report notes that in addition to that expansion of renewables, a large deployment of carbon capture and storage will have to happen. By 2020,100 large-scale CCS projects will have to be built--a number that expands to 3,000 by 2050.
Currently just five commercial CCS projects are operational, with an additional 75 in planning stages.
All that said, the report does point to encouraging growth over the past decade in both solar power (10 countries now have sizeable domestic solar power markets)and wind power (a ten-fold growth in installation).
Read the report: Clean Energy Progress Report
More on Renewable Energy
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50% of Electricity Must Come From Renewables by 2050 to Avert Global Warming: IEA