On 9 May 2011, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a “Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation” (SRREN), which was prepared by the IPCC Working Group III . Based on a literature study, the report assesses the future potential of renewable energy for the mitigation of climate change, and finds that – with the right policies in place – renewable energies could provide almost 80 per cent of the world’s energy supply by the middle of this century. According to the report, an increasing use of renewable energies could also considerably diminish greenhouse gas emissions, saving up to 220 to 560 Gigatonnes of carbon dioxide (GtC02eq) between 2010 and 2050. In one of the best case scenarios, the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions would even make it more likely that the increase in global temperature can stay below two degrees Celsius, which is in accordance with the aim recognized at the UN Climate Change Conference in Canc�n.
The Global Team of Technological Experts and Scientists analyzed over 160 scenarios to assess the potential of the six most important renewable energy technologies: bio-energy, direct solar energy, geothermal energy, hydropower, ocean energy, and wind energy. It also considered the social and environmental impacts of these technologies, and the cost and strategies to effectively deal with the technical as well as non-technical obstacles to their application and diffusion.
At the launch of the report, Ramon Pichs, Co-Chair of the Working Group III, underlined: “The report shows that it is not the availability of the resource, but the public policies that will either expand or constrain renewable energy development over the coming decades.”
The full report will be available on the SRREN-IPCC website as of 31 May 2011.