As if you needed any further proof that clean energy has fossil fuels on the run, a recent report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) shows renewable energy accounted for nearly half of all new power plants built in 2014. The Guardian reports the IEA said this fact represents a “clear sign that an energy transition is underway” on planet Earth. According to the IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2015 report, the milestone also means green energy is the second-largest electricity generator in the world, and set to dethrone the worst of the world’s fossil fuels by early in the 2030s.
According to IEA executive director, Fatih Birol, the report is somewhat of a coming-of-age story for the renewable energy industry. “The biggest story is in the case of renewables,” he told the Guardian. “It is no longer a niche. Renewable energy has become a mainstream fuel, as of now.” He added that 60 per cent of all new energy investment is funneling into renewable energy projects, despite nearly $490 billion in fossil fuel subsidies last year.
Clean energy’s quick climb to the top is expected to put a major dent in worldwide carbon emissions in the years to come, but the Guardian notes IEA calculations show the world is still set to see 2.7 degrees C worth of global warming. That’s above the 2 degree C threshold for “dangerous” warming and as the IEA’s report notes “(a) major course correction is still required.”
With the upcoming climate summit in Paris on the horizon, Birol said world leaders still have a lot of work to do. “As the largest source of global greenhouse-gas emissions, the energy sector must be at the heart of global action to tackle climate change,” Birol said. “World leaders meeting in Paris must set a clear direction for the accelerated transformation of the global energy sector.”