You are here: Home Knowledge Base Environment Reassessing Renewable Energies Solutions When evaluating renewable energy sources, adopt a holistic approach, considering all the potential contributions to sustainability and all the potential stumbling blocks rather than focusing only on climate change.
Symposium 2012

Solution for Reassessing Renewable Energies

The Challenge

Two thirds of global electricity is generated from fossil fuels. This implies that more than 40% of global carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels stem from electricity generation. While there is p ...

Two thirds of global electricity is generated from fossil fuels. This implies that more than 40% of global carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels stem from electricity generation. While there is potential for efficiency improvements, global demand for electricity is expected to rise, which will further aggravate the problem, especially in developing countries.

When evaluating renewable energy sources, adopt a holistic approach, considering all the potential contributions to sustainability and all the potential stumbling blocks rather than focusing only on climate change.

Renewable energy has to be seen in a broader context and should not be reduced to delivering climate-friendly energy. Climate change is only one of the planetary boundaries that have already been crossed; there is also strong pressure from biodiversity loss. Thus, the whole ecosystem has to be looked at: "climate is critical but not the totality."

Rather than framing the reduction of carbon emissions as the only and ultimate goal that renewable energy should achieve, stronger emphasis needs to be placed on the many additional benefits, such as reducing air pollution in developing countries, connecting those that do not yet have access to electricity and many other sustainability targets.

This broader perspective does not apply to the wider benefits of renewable energy but also to its potential downsides. For example, bioenergy should be analyzed in a framework that ensures sustainable and secure food and energy provision.

    Related Solutions

    Solution
    Symposium 2012

    Finance the transition to renewable energy by redirecting fossil energy subsidies and, especially in developing countries, by using international oil revenues.

    Finance the transition to renewable energy by redirecting fossil energy subsidies and, especially in developing countries, by using international oil revenues.

    Finance the transition to renewable energy by redirecting fossil energy subsidies and, especially in developing countries, by using international oil revenues.

    Business
    Solution
    Symposium 2012

    Start building up an environmentally sustainable capital stock of power plants for the future.

    Start building up an environmentally sustainable capital stock of power plants for the future.

    Start building up an environmentally sustainable capital stock of power plants for the future.

    Polity, Business
    Solution
    Symposium 2012

    Local circumstances should dictate the renewable energy mix.

    Local circumstances should dictate the renewable energy mix.

    Local circumstances should dictate the renewable energy mix.

    Polity, Academia, Business