Renewable energy, better car efficiency can save the Arctic from oil drilling




5 June, 2012

Berlin, June 5, 2012. A major expansion of renewable energy and more energy efficient vehicles can end the world’s dependence on fossil fuels and save the fragile Arctic from the destruction of oil exploration, according to a new comprehensive energy roadmap launched today by Greenpeace, the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC) and the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC).

The report, “Energy [R]evolution: A Sustainable World Energy Outlook”, includes a detailed, practical roadmap for reducing oil demand by around 80%, especially for the transportation sector. The Energy [R]evolution demonstrates there would be no need to exploit the Arctic and other marginal sources of oil, such as the tar sands in Canada, and offshore oil in Brazil, if more renewable energy powered our vehicles and if much stronger efficiency standards for cars were adopted in Europe and elsewhere.

“The way to reduce oil demand and end the threat of drilling in the fragile Arctic ecosystem along with eliminating demand to exploit other marginal oil sources is to make cars far more energy efficient and to make more use of electric transport systems powered by renewable energy,” said Sven Teske, Greenpeace International’s Senior Energy Expert and co-author of the report. “The renewable power industry is improving rapidly, but the car industry is dragging its feat on offering the required new technologies.”

Under the new energy scenario, renewable energy technologies would provide more than 90% of global electricity and heating, and more than 70% of transportation. This transformation would maintain economic growth and ensure overall lower energy costs; carbon emissions would be drastically cut to avert catastrophic climate change and millions of jobs would be created. To ensure that the Arctic and other unconventional sources of oil are not exploited policy makers must:

  • Ensure new cars in Europe meet an average efficiency standard that is 40% lower than today,
  • Ensure that other regions of the world start implementing similar car efficiency standards,
  • Ensure that the energy demand of cars drops to one-third of today’s level in the long term by decreasing car size through lighter materials and greater use of electric drives.

The transition to using electric vehicles, in both private vehicles and in an expanded public transport service, is key to reducing oil dependence and to implementing more energy efficiency. Increasingly, much of the world’s transport energy must come from renewable electricity – mainly from wind and solar power plants.

“We have the technology to eliminate fossil fuels from the electricity sector by 2050,” said Steve Sawyer, Secretary General of the Global Wind Energy Council. “The Energy [R]evolution scenario shows that with the right support, wind power generation alone could reach over 1,000 GW by 2020 – about 12% of the world’s electricity. This would yield many benefits, such as enhancing energy security and would be a key in helping mitigate climate change. But, in order for wind to reach its full potential, governments need to act: on climate change, on air pollution and to stop subsidising the fossil fuel industry.”

The level of global investment in new power plants up to 2050 to implement the Energy [R]evolution would be US$1.2 trillion a year, about 1% of the world's annual GDP. Although this is double the US$ 506 billion in investments needed under the existing fossil fuel scenario, relying on renewable energy would in future result in US$1.3 trillion in fuel cost savings per year. These savings would more than offset the investment required to make the shift to renewable energy.

“The message is clear: higher upfront investment needs will pay-off in the long run both in economic terms and for society at large,“ said Josche Muth, Secretary General of the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC). “The world’s politicians must commit to making the shift to renewable energy and ensure they provide ongoing support to facilitate the shift.”

Under the new Energy [R]evolution scenario, global CO2 emissions would drop, after peaking in 2015, the year international climate scientists say is crucial to. By 2050, CO2 emissions would be more than 80% lower than in 1990, if the energy supply is based almost entirely on renewable energies.

Editors: Copies of the “Energy [R]evolution: A sustainable World Energy Outlook” report, the Executive Summary and a Briefing at:  www.greenpeace.org/international/energyrev2012  and www.erec.org For other regional reports please go to www.energyblueprint.info

For more information contact:

Sven Teske, Greenpeace International renewable energy campaign, +31 6212 96 894
Brian Blomme, Greenpeace International Communications, +31 6188 30 281
Greenpeace international Press Desk, +31 20 718 24 70
Josche Muth, EREC Secretary General, +32 2 546 19 33
Eleanor Smith, EREC Communication and Policy Officer, +32 2400 10 81S
teve Sawyer, Secretary General of GWEC, +32 4951 02848


NOTES FOR THE EDITOR:

1. This is the fourth edition of the global Energy [R]evolution scenario since the first one was published in January 2007, the analysis has been constantly deepened. The second edition introduced specific research for the transport sector and an investigation future investment in renewable energies. We have published country specific scenarios for over 30 countries and regions, added a study of the employment implications of the scenarios and a detailed examination of how the grid network needs to be improved and adapted. The IPCC chose the 2010 Energy [R]evolution as one of the lead scenarios for its “Special Report Renewable” published in May 2011. This new 2012 edition includes the first time an analysis of fossil fuel reserves, a survey about the renewable heating sector, and the socio-economic effect for renewable energy expansion.

2. The oil pathway of the Energy [R]evolution 2012 projects an average annual production decline of existing oil production wells of 2.5% - for current offshore oil production decline can be higher.

3. The 2012 Energy [R]evolution has a target of over an 80% reduction in CO2 (basis 1990 level).

4. The report was developed in cooperation with specialists from the Institute of Technical Thermodynamics at the German Aerospace Centre (DLR), the Dutch University of Utrecht and more than 40 scientists and engineers from universities, institutes and the renewable energy industry around the world. It provides a comprehensive global energy concept with detailed analysis for restructuring the global energy system based on a detailed regional assessment of the potential of proven renewable energy sources, energy efficiency and the utilization of efficient, decentralized cogeneration. The Energy [R]evolution Scenario is being compared to the ‘business as usual’ scenario provided by the International Energy Agency, with a breakdown to 10 world regions as used in the on-going series of the World Energy Outlook reports.

5. For a more in depth briefing on the latest edition of the Energy [R]evolution scenario go to www.greenpeace.org/ER2012keyfacts

6. To learn more about the Energy [R]evolution go to www.greenpeace.org/energyrevolution