Global shift away from fossil fuels to renewable energy by 2050 would save £10trn, scientists say | World News
A rapid global shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy by 2050 would save the world at least £10trn, according to new analysis.
The faster we dump gas and oil, the more we’ll save, researchers at the University of Oxford said, adding that the idea going green will be expensive is “just wrong”.
The peer-reviewed study, published in the journal Joule, used data on energy costs going back several decades, as well as thousands of scenarios of the cost of switching to zero carbon power.
The researchers found that wind and solar energy, as well as battery storage, had become far cheaper than had been originally anticipated, because of better technology and economies of scale.
Fossil fuel prices have fluctuated widely, driven by global political and economic events.
And the cost of nuclear has consistently increased over the last 50 years to the point where it is unlikely to be cost-competitive with renewables.
The study concludes that renewables are now often cheaper than fossil fuels – and that cost advantage will accelerate.
Rupert Way, the lead author from the University’s Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, said: “Scaling up key green technologies will continue to drive their costs down – and the faster we go, the more we will save.
“Accelerating the transition to renewable energy is now the best bet not just for the planet, but for energy costs too.”
Professor Doyne Farmer, from the Oxford Martin School, and another of the researchers, said: “There is a pervasive misconception that switching to clean, green energy will be painful, costly and mean sacrifices for us all.
“But that’s just wrong.”
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Gas and oil prices have soared since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, causing a global spike in inflation.
The new Prime Minister, Liz Truss, last week announced the government would issue around 100 licences to explore for more North Sea gas and oil, and lift the ban on fracking.
But the researchers warn that governments should redouble efforts to move away from “expensive, insecure, fossil fuels.”
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Professor Farmer said: “The world is facing a simultaneous inflation crisis, national security crisis, and climate crisis, all caused by our dependence on high cost, insecure, polluting, fossil fuels with volatile prices.
“This study shows ambitious policies to accelerate dramatically the transition to a clean energy future as quickly as possible are, not only, urgently needed for climate reasons, but can save the world trillions in future energy costs, giving us a cleaner, cheaper, more energy secure future.”