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Briefing paper

Green shift to sustainability: co-benefits and impacts of energy transformation

30 May 2017
Description

The current shift from fossil energy resources to “green” energy — renewable energy plus storage in smart grids, many with electric vehicles providing grid services — is now a global phenomenon (International Energy Agency 2016; International Renewable Energy Agency [IRENA] 2017b).

For economic reasons, this energy transformation has become self-sustaining and self-accelerating where it is under way, and self-replicating in an increasing number of countries and regions, including in poor areas and remote locations not yet served by a power grid.

Key points:

  • Energy transformation toward 100% renewable energy is desirable and inevitable.
  • New energy systems, based on efficiency, renewables, storage and smart management, are cheaper to build, run and maintain. They harvest free environmental flows, often for self-consumption. 
  • Fossil fuel extraction and commodity trade will end, as fossil asset values erode in a shrinking sector that loses its role in capital formation, international trade, economic activity and government revenue.
  • Energy transformation is beneficial overall, and yet it may produce misleading signals in outdated statistics. International organizations and the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TFCD) should address this paradox in joint reports to the Group of Twenty (G20) leaders, ministers of finance and central bank governors. 
Publication Details
Issue: 
Policy Brief No. 109
Language: 
License Type: 
CC BY-NC-ND
Published year only: 
2017
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