It will take $14.7 trillion in the next 20 years to boost renewable energy technology research and deployment, but the world can free itself from fossil fuels by the end of the century if it makes the investment.
That's according to a new European Renewable Energy Council, an industry group, and Greenpeace, an environmental group.
If $14.7 trillion sounds like a lot of money, well, that's because it is. But it's not that much more than the $11.3 trillion the world will probably spend on energy programs by 2030 anyway, according to Reuters. It's just that much of that money will be spent on developing coal, oil and nuclear resources. Presumably because both the industry and environmental group behind the report do not support nuclear power, despite its potential benefits in the fight against global warming, it is lumped in with fossil fuels (uranium is mined and processed before it is used to generate electricity).
The report's authors recommend boosting overall energy spending by 30% and transferring virtually all spending to the renewable energy industry. If the world chooses that course, by 2090 we would not need coal, oil or natural gas at all. All energy would come from sunlight, wind, water, geothermal heat, crops and other renewable sources of energy.
A 30% increase in cost may be justified, given the cost that global warming will extract from the world economy.
The report, not surprisingly given its authors, is more optimistic about the possibilities of renewable energy than other researchers have been. A more likely scenario is a middle road between investments in fossil fuels and renewable energy, at less overall cost -- and with slower progress on fighting global warming.
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