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Last updated on April 18, 2014 at 1:21 EDT

Fossil Fuel Use Could Be Ended by 2090

October 27, 2008

Fossil fuels could be eliminated by 2090 if the world community took aggressive action by investing trillions of dollars on renewable energy, according to the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC) and environmental group Greenpeace on Monday.

The new study calls for an overhaul of worldwide energy use in order to meet worst-case scenarios for curbing greenhouse cas emissions.

“Renewable energy could provide all global energy needs by 2090,” according to the study, entitled “Energy (R)evolution.” EREC represents renewable energy industries and trade and research associations in Europe.

Coal use could even be eliminated by 2050, according to one scenario.

Solar power, biomass such as biofuels or wood, geothermal energy and wind could be the leading energies by 2090 in a shift from fossil fuels blamed by the U.N. Climate Panel for stoking global warming.

Energy investments would amount to $14.7 trillion according to the study. By contrast, the International Energy Agency (IEA), which advises rich nations, foresees energy investments of just $11.3 trillion to 2030, with a bigger stress on fossil fuels and nuclear power.

“Even those who may not agree with the analysis presented would, perhaps, benefit from a deep study of the underlying assumptions,” Rajendra Pachauri, head of the U.N. Climate Panel which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with ex-U.S. Vice President Al Gore, wrote in a foreword to the report.

EREC and Greenpeace said a big energy shift was needed to avoid “dangerous” climate change.

The report urged measures such as a phase-out of subsidies for fossil fuels and nuclear energy, “cap and trade” systems for greenhouse gas emissions, legally binging targets for renewable energies and tough efficiency standards for buildings and vehicles.

The report said renewable energy markets were booming with turnover almost doubling in 2007 from 2006 to more than $70 billion. It said renewables could more than double their share of world energy supplies to 30 percent by 2030 and reach 50 percent by 2050.

“The current unstable market situation is a strong argument for our energy evolution concept,”said Sven Teske, Greenpeace’s leading author of
the report. He said investments would be repaid by savings in fuel costs.

“We had a ‘dot.com bubble’ and a ‘finance bubble’ – but I’m confident that we will not have a renewables bubble – as the need for energy is real – and growing especially in developing nations,” he said.

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