Saving carbon emission – No. 2

12.12.2014

Until 2030, wind and solar power will already reduce carbon dioxide emission by 3.8 billion tons per year. With a supporting policy and market framework, a lot more would be possible.

As Steve Sawyer, CEO of the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) put it: “We have the technology to solve a big part of the climate problem. What we need now are the political will and leadership necessary to create a sustainable energy future – and to do it in time to save the planet.”

Since the power sector alone produces more than 40 % of all carbon emissions and a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions, it has to be one of the targets to reduce emissions. To meet the climate protection goals and keep the world’s temperature rise at 2 °C or below, emissions have to peak and decline in this decade. The technologies of choice to reduce emissions in the power sector are wind and solar energy. “Prices of wind and solar have dropped dramatically in the past few years thanks to rapid technology development and scale up, and this trend will continue. Both technologies are already competing directly with heavily subsidised conventional sources in many markets around the world. Wind and solar are key for a low-carbon power system”, stated Jeremy Leggett on behalf of the European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA).

Both GWEC and EPIA recommend several additional measures to facilitate the energy revolution, such as defining more ambitious and compulsory emission targets, setting an effective price for CO2 emissions and (slowly) getting rid of fossil fuel subsidies. And they emphasise the importance of electricity markets that accurately value wind and solar, as well as clean air and water.

Tanja Peschel

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