After a two-year long scientific collaboration, the leading scientists at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), the German Aerospace Center and the University of Melbourne have come up with a strategy to stay below a 1.5°C temperature rise, only by using 100 percent renewables and natural climate solutions.
This research is as of now the most detailed energy model and the first of its kind to attain negative emissions through natural climate solution. It proposes conversion to 100% renewables by mid-century using methods like reforestation, etc. This will not only benefit the climate but will also generate huge amount of permanent jobs. The researchers have estimated it to cost approximately one-fourth of the current cost of subsidies for fossil fuels.
The research models 72 regional energy grids in hourly increments through 2050 and aims at assessing the renewable resources like wind and solar completely, along with the set up required to meet the estimated demand for energy and storage for all sectors over the next 30 years.
“Scientists cannot fully predict the future, but advanced modelling allows us to map out the best scenarios for creating a global energy system fit for the 21st century,” lead author Dr Sven Teske, research director at UTS’s Institute for Sustainable Futures says.
“With momentum around the Paris Agreement lagging, it’s crucial that decision-makers around the world can see that we can, in fact, meet global energy demand at a lower cost with clean renewables.”
Though there have been hundreds of models created by the climate scientists to make the policymakers understand the influence of climate change and how to lessen them, most of them depend upon costly technology and which has not proved to work at scale when seeking to achieve not just a cap on emissions but “negative” emissions, where there is a reduction in the carbon in the atmosphere.
This model is thus, the first to achieve the required negative emissions through natural climate solutions by restoring the degraded forests and other lands, along with a transition to 100 percent renewable energy by mid-century.
“Citing a growing body of research, we show that using land restoration efforts to meet negative emissions requirements, along with a transition to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050, gives the world a good chance of staying below the 1.5°C target,” says Malte Meinshausen, founding director of the Climate and Energy College at the University of Melbourne and Potsdam Institute fellow.
The researchers find it offering extra benefits than just keeping the climatic conditions in check. It will not only create millions of permanent jobs but will also help in increasing sustainable livelihoods in the developing world. As a result, the water security will improve with a reduction in soil erosion.
The proposed energy transition outlined in the climate model is estimated to cost about $1.7 trillion per year. That may sound like a lot but is very less in comparison to the subsidies provided by the Government to prop up the polluting fossil fuels that is responsible for the change in the climate.