Report: World could end fossil fuel use by 2090

Greenpeace's Energy [R]evolution report, released Monday, outlines how solar power, wind farms, geothermal stations, and biofuels could meet all of the world's energy needs by the final decade of this century.

By , Blogger for The Christian Science Monitor

  • close
    Sun sets between oil rigs off Huntington Beach.
    View Caption

Eighty-two years from now, as Guns N' Roses releases its seventh studio album and the events of "Leprechaun 4: In Space" take place, humanity could, if it so desires, belch out its very last puff of fossil-fuel emissions.

At least that's what a new report by Greenpeace and the European Renewable Energy Council says. Their Energy [R]evolution report, released Monday, outlines how solar power, wind farms, geothermal stations, and biofuels could meet all of the world's energy needs by the final decade of this century.

Getting started would cost a pretty penny – $14.7 trillion by 2030, according to the study. But according to the International Energy Agency, the world will spend $11.3 trillion on energy investments anyway, with a much greater focus on coal, oil, and nuclear power.

Recommended: Think you know energy? Take our quiz.

That's still 30 percent less, but the study argues that the difference would be more than made up for by slashing $18 trillion in fuel costs and creating a $360-billion-per-year industry. Additionally, the report says that the extra expense is justified given the costs – both economic and human – of global warming.

Greenpeace said that, in these tough financial times, a green energy revolution would be a smart move for the economy and for the planet.

With today’s economic instability, investing in renewable energy technologies is a ‘win-win-win’ scenario: a win for energy security, a win for the economy and a win for the climate. While ‘business as usual’ energy scenarios come at the cost of the climate and the economy, the Energy [R]evolution makes a clear case for ‘business as unusual’. The renewable industry is ready and able to deliver the needed capacity to make the energy revolution a reality. There is no technical impediment to doing this, just a political barrier to overcome as we rebuild the global energy sector.

Reuters calls the study "one of few reports – even by lobby groups – to look in detail at how energy use would have to be overhauled to meet the toughest scenarios for curbing greenhouse gases outlined by the U.N. Climate Panel."

The report's authors call for a three-pronged approach. The first prong is electricity efficiency. According to Greenpeace, we are wasting 61 percent of the electricity we consume "mostly due to bad product design." If we do nothing, electricity consumption is expected to increase by 33 percent by 2050. But by better insulating our homes and offices, improving the energy efficiency of our appliances, and by replacing water heaters with solar collectors, industrialized countries could decrease their power consumption by 10 percent, allowing for developing countries to increase their consumption by 20 percent.

The second prong is structural changes. The study calls for an ambitious program of replacing large power stations with a decentralized power system that makes use of locally available energy. The roofs and facades of homes and other buildings would be decked out with solar arrays with geothermal pumps underground. Local power systems can drastically reduce losses due to transmission.

The report also strongly advocates cogeneration, that is, capturing the heat generated in a power station and using it to heat buildings.

The third prong is reducing energy use by transportation systems. The report calls for "a shift from road to rail," improving and expanding public transportation and encouraging the shipment of goods by freight trains instead of trucks. It also calls for setting strict fuel-efficiency standards for vehicles, and ultimately switching from internal-combustion engines to electric ones.

Greenpeace's video that coincides with the release report is an unsettling, digitally manipulated speech on climate change by John F. Kennedy, dubbed by a voice actor who has evidently never set foot in Massachusetts:

Share this story:

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

eZ debug

Clear cache:

Quick settings:

Timing: Jul 09 2014 11:27:42
Script start
Timing: Jul 09 2014 11:27:42
Module start 'content'
Warning: eZDebug::accumulatorStop Jul 09 2014 11:27:42
Accumulator 'Search' does not exist, run eZDebug::accumulatorStart first
Warning: eZDebug::accumulatorStop Jul 09 2014 11:27:42
Accumulator 'Search' does not exist, run eZDebug::accumulatorStart first
Notice: PHP: E_NOTICE Jul 09 2014 11:27:42
Undefined index: path in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/extension/ezwebin/autoloads/ezpagedata.php on line 158
Notice: PHP: E_NOTICE Jul 09 2014 11:27:42
Undefined index: path in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/extension/ezwebin/autoloads/ezpagedata.php on line 175
Notice: PHP: E_NOTICE Jul 09 2014 11:27:42
Undefined index: path in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/extension/ezwebin/autoloads/ezpagedata.php on line 158
Notice: PHP: E_NOTICE Jul 09 2014 11:27:42
Undefined index: path in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/extension/ezwebin/autoloads/ezpagedata.php on line 175
Notice: PHP: E_NOTICE Jul 09 2014 11:27:42
Undefined index: meta_class_identifier_ms in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/extension/ezfind/classes/ezfindresultnode.php on line 111
Notice: PHP: E_NOTICE Jul 09 2014 11:27:42
Undefined index: meta_class_identifier_ms in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/extension/ezfind/classes/ezfindresultnode.php on line 111
Notice: PHP: E_NOTICE Jul 09 2014 11:27:42
Undefined index: meta_class_identifier_ms in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/extension/ezfind/classes/ezfindresultnode.php on line 111
Notice: PHP: E_NOTICE Jul 09 2014 11:27:42
Undefined index: meta_class_identifier_ms in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/extension/ezfind/classes/ezfindresultnode.php on line 111
Notice: PHP: E_NOTICE Jul 09 2014 11:27:42
Undefined index: meta_remote_id_ms in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/extension/csm_base/classes/CSMFunctionCollection.php on line 1028
Warning: eZTemplate:def @ extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/templates/content/datatype/view/ezbyline.tpl:10[1] Jul 09 2014 11:27:42
Variable 'story_source' is already defined.
Notice: PHP: E_NOTICE Jul 09 2014 11:27:42
Undefined index: meta_class_identifier_ms in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/extension/ezfind/classes/ezfindresultnode.php on line 111
Notice: PHP: E_NOTICE Jul 09 2014 11:27:42
Undefined index: meta_remote_id_ms in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/extension/csm_base/classes/CSMFunctionCollection.php on line 1028
Notice: PHP: E_NOTICE Jul 09 2014 11:27:42
Undefined index: meta_class_identifier_ms in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/extension/ezfind/classes/ezfindresultnode.php on line 111
Notice: PHP: E_NOTICE Jul 09 2014 11:27:42
Undefined index: meta_remote_id_ms in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/extension/csm_base/classes/CSMFunctionCollection.php on line 1028
Notice: PHP: E_NOTICE Jul 09 2014 11:27:42
Undefined index: meta_class_identifier_ms in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/extension/ezfind/classes/ezfindresultnode.php on line 111
Notice: PHP: E_NOTICE Jul 09 2014 11:27:42
Undefined index: meta_remote_id_ms in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/extension/csm_base/classes/CSMFunctionCollection.php on line 1028
Timing: Jul 09 2014 11:27:42
Module end 'content'
Timing: Jul 09 2014 11:27:42
Before parse_includes
Strict: PHP: E_STRICT Jul 09 2014 11:27:42
Non-static method MugoViewExtras::get_view_extras() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /var/www/www.csmonitor.com/extension/mugo_view_extras/autoloads/template_operators.php on line 37
Warning: eZTemplate:def @ extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/override/templates/extra/archive.tpl:21[1] Jul 09 2014 11:27:42
Variable 'view_extra_node' is already defined.
Timing: Jul 09 2014 11:27:42
After parse_includes
Timing: Jul 09 2014 11:27:42
End

Timing points:

CheckpointElapsedRel. ElapsedMemoryRel. Memory
Script start 0.0000 sec0.0130 sec 1,286.0547 KB1,162.2578 KB
Module start 'content' 0.0130 sec0.7449 sec 2,448.3125 KB11,019.9609 KB
Module end 'content' 0.7580 sec0.0131 sec 13,468.2734 KB392.6719 KB
Before parse_includes 0.7711 sec0.0557 sec 13,860.9453 KB283.1797 KB
After parse_includes 0.8268 sec0.0010 sec 14,144.1250 KB-182.6172 KB
End 0.8278 sec  13,961.5078 KB 
Total runtime:0.8351 sec
Peak memory usage:16,431.2344 KB

Time accumulators:

 Accumulator Elapsed Percent Count Average
ini_load
Load cache0.0073 sec0.8671%360.0002 sec
Mysql Total
Mysqli_queries0.1052 sec12.5603%1540.0007 sec
Looping result0.0107 sec1.2723%1470.0001 sec
Template Total0.7882 sec 94.1% 8 0.0985 sec
Template load0.0091 sec1.0894%80.0011 sec
Template processing0.7787 sec93.0021%80.0973 sec
Template load and register function0.0003 sec0.0346%40.0001 sec
states
state_id_array0.0042 sec0.5037%80.0005 sec
state_identifier_array0.0064 sec0.7647%110.0006 sec
override
Cache load0.0083 sec0.9855%710.0001 sec
eZ Find
MoreLikeThis0.0000 sec0.0000%00.0000 sec
Query build0.0066 sec0.7902%10.0066 sec
Engine time0.0262 sec3.1263%10.0262 sec
Search0.2696 sec32.1968%20.1348 sec
Class attribute list0.0796 sec9.5098%10.0796 sec
Sytem overhead
Fetch class attribute can translate value0.0009 sec0.1076%20.0005 sec
Fetch class attribute name0.0002 sec0.0291%100.0000 sec
XML
Image XML parsing0.0128 sec1.5295%20.0064 sec
class_abstraction
Instantiating content class attribute0.0001 sec0.0117%100.0000 sec
General
String conversion0.0000 sec0.0018%30.0000 sec
dbfile0.0097 sec1.1578%440.0002 sec
View Extra building0.0120 sec1.4375%40.0030 sec
Total script time:0.8373 sec

CSS/JS files loaded with "ezjscPacker" during request:

CacheTypePacklevelSourceFiles
01a980f93dc967c6e39d52a11ae2108b_1404899611_all.cssCSS3extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/stylesheets/normalize.css
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/stylesheets/html5b.css
design/standard/stylesheets/debug.css
extension/ezwt/design/standard/stylesheets/websitetoolbar.css
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/stylesheets/jquery-ui-1.10.3.custom.min.css
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/stylesheets/desktop.css
ede0a88fd146f1a095d27fb22227d0e5_1398846822.jsJS2extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/modernizr.js
extension/csm_base/design/standard/javascript/jquery-1.10.2.min.js
1650da1ba852ac5f9af81af07e8fa105_1404899611.jsJS2extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/jquery-ui-1.10.4.min.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/json2.js
extension/csm_base/design/standard/javascript/jquery.cookie.min.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/jquery.mobile.custom.min.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/plugins/jquery.arthole.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/plugins/jquery.sticky.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/plugins/jquery.csmstory.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/plugins/jquery.right_column.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/plugins/jquery.csmstory_editorspickdialog.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/plugins/jquery.sailthru_signup.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/plugins/jquery.jcarousel.min.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/plugins/jquery.history.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/plugins/jquery.mainNav.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/plugins/jquery.gallery.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/plugins/jquery.staffdialog.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/jQuery.rollChildren.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/pubService_extended.js
extension/csm_base/design/standard/javascript/csm/csmNew.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/jquery.quiz.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/jquery.spectrumQuiz.js
extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/javascript/global.js

Templates used to render the page:

UsageRequested templateTemplateTemplate loadedEditOverride
1node/view/full.tplfull/article.tplextension/csm_base/design/csm_design/override/templates/full/article.tplEdit templateOverride template
14content/datatype/view/ezxmltags/paragraph.tpl<No override>extension/ezwebin/design/ezwebin/templates/content/datatype/view/ezxmltags/paragraph.tplEdit templateOverride template
2content/datatype/view/ezimage.tpl<No override>extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/templates/content/datatype/view/ezimage.tplEdit templateOverride template
12content/datatype/view/ezxmltags/link.tpl<No override>extension/csm_base/design/standard/templates/content/datatype/view/ezxmltags/link.tplEdit templateOverride template
2content/datatype/view/ezxmltags/blockquote.tpl<No override>extension/csm_base/design/standard/templates/content/datatype/view/ezxmltags/blockquote.tplEdit templateOverride template
2content/datatype/view/ezxmltags/literal.tpl<No override>design/standard/templates/content/datatype/view/ezxmltags/literal.tplEdit templateOverride template
1content/datatype/view/ezstring.tpl<No override>design/standard/templates/content/datatype/view/ezstring.tplEdit templateOverride template
1content/datatype/view/ezxmltext.tpl<No override>design/standard/templates/content/datatype/view/ezxmltext.tplEdit templateOverride template
1content/datatype/view/ezbyline.tpl<No override>extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/templates/content/datatype/view/ezbyline.tplEdit templateOverride template
1content/datatype/view/ezobjectrelationlist.tplcontent/datatype/view/story_images.tplextension/csm_base/design/csm_design/override/templates/content/datatype/view/story_images.tplEdit templateOverride template
1content/datatype/view/eztext.tpl<No override>design/standard/templates/content/datatype/view/eztext.tplEdit templateOverride template
1content/datatype/view/ezstring.tplcontent/datatype/view/image_credit.tplextension/csm_base/design/csm_design/override/templates/content/datatype/view/image_credit.tplEdit templateOverride template
1content/datatype/view/ezxmltext.tplcontent/datatype/view/story_info_box.tplextension/csm_base/design/csm_design/override/templates/content/datatype/view/story_info_box.tplEdit templateOverride template
1content/datatype/view/ezmatrix.tplcontent/datatype/view/ezmatrix_article_related_external_links.tplextension/csm_base/design/csm_design/override/templates/content/datatype/view/ezmatrix_article_related_external_links.tplEdit templateOverride template
1pagelayout.tpl<No override>extension/csm_base/design/csm_design/templates/pagelayout.tplEdit templateOverride template
1modules/mugo_view_extras/extra_cached.tpl<No override>extension/mugo_view_extras/design/standard/templates/modules/mugo_view_extras/extra_cached.tplEdit templateOverride template
1setup/debug_toolbar.tpl<No override>design/standard/templates/setup/debug_toolbar.tplEdit templateOverride template
 Number of times templates used: 44
 Number of unique templates used: 17
 Time used to render template usage: 0.0003 secs