A new report from the United Nations–backed International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) to a conference in Abu Dhabi urges a major scaling up of renewable energy.
According to the just released report, IRENA forecasts that dramatically scaling up renewable energy’s share of the global energy mix would deliver a massive boost to gross domestic product (GDP), social welfare, and employment worldwide.
Meanwhile, global welfare, including health, education and the benefits from an improved environment, would be increased by up to 3.7 per cent, the report said.
At the same time employment in the renewable energy sector would more than double from 9.2 million jobs today to more than 24 million by 2030.
“Mitigating climate change through the deployment of renewable energy and achieving other socio-economic targets is no longer an either or equation,” said Adnan Z Amin, director-general of IRENA, in a statement.
“Thanks to the growing business case for renewable energy, an investment in one is an investment in both.
“That is the definition of a win-win scenario.”
As an example the United Kingdom would receive an economic boost equal to one per cent of GDP, the report argued, as well as a boost of over two per cent in social welfare benefits.
This would cut costs for large importers such as Japan and India, while benefitting exporting countries by helping to diversify their economies.
The European Union alone would save US$15bn in export costs by reducing fossil fuel imports, the report said.
The report provides the first global analysis of the impact of renewable energy deployment on the global economy, and argues that the benefits of scaling up renewable energy far outweigh any costs relating to the short term impact on competitiveness of switching to renewable energy.
“The recent Paris Agreement sent a strong signal for countries to move from negotiation to action and rapidly decarbonise the energy sector,” said Mr Amin.
“This analysis provides compelling evidence that achieving the needed energy transition would not only mitigate climate change, but also stimulate the economy, improve human welfare and boost employment worldwide.”
The launch of the report cames as IRENA held its annual general assembly in Abu Dhabi, marking the first major inter-governmental meeting to take place following the agreement of the UN climate deal in Paris last month.