IRENA: 12 times more solar needed to avoid 'climate catastophe'

Jun 10, 2014 - Lucy Woods -


Fourth session of the IRENA assembly in January this year. IRENA's REmap aims to show 36% renewables by 2030 is feasible, affordable and will mitigate climate change risks. Image: IRENA

Solar deployment needs to increase 12 times over by 2030 to avoid "climate catastrophe", a report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has warned.

Launched in New York last week, the report, ‘REmap 2030’, aims to show a 36% share of renewables in the energy mix by 2030 is feasible, affordable and will mitigate climate change risks – keeping carbon pollution below 450ppm to keep within a ‘safe’ 2 degrees Celsius rise in global temperatures.

Based on the IRENA model, wind energy needs to increase the most, by a factor of 15, and solar second, by a factor of 12. Geothermal needs to grow nine times over, hydro to double, biomass by a factor of 1.5 and tidal generation to increase by less than 0.1.

IRENA has calculated the switch to renewables also provides US$740 billion of savings each year on environmental costs from burning fossil fuels – cancelling out the investments costs required to reach 36% renewables.

Out of the US$750 billion, US$200 billion could be saved in health costs, while 900,000 clean energy jobs would be created, IRENA said.

The REmap show by 2030 there would be a 15% decline in oil and natural gas, and 26% decline in coal, helping countries that import fossil fuels to be energy secure and to reduce air pollution.

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