carbonn Climate Registry
24.11.2015

Yes, a 100% Renewable Energy future is possible!

This was the conclusion of the workshop "Decarbonisation - 100 % Renewable Energy and more" hosted by the German Federal Environment Agency (UBA) in Berlin on November 9th, 2015. It is technically feasible to have an energy supply system that relies solely on Renewable Energy (RE) and to reach carbon neutrality, as demonstrated by several studies conducted at national level in Germany and France, as well as at city-level focusing on the City of Rheine, Germany, developed by Solar Institute Jülich, and on Victoria-Gasteiz, Basque Country, Spain, developed by the City Council, and ICLEI member.

Prof. Tetsunari Iida from ISEP, indicated that about 80% of the Japanese population is in favor of renewable energy and of the phase-out of nuclear energy – here “people are motivated to produce their own energy”. Denmark is making good progress and successfully decoupled economic growth and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions between 1990 and 2011. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased 38% at fixed prices while GHG emissions decreased by 25%. The UK’s policy package to achieve the national target of 80% greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction target by 2050 was also presented. Dr. Benno Hain (UBA) presented the GHG-neutral scenario for Germany, and showed that it is feasible to cover Germany’s energy demand and peak consumption with a 100%RE system that has Power-to-Liquid and Power-to-Gas essential elements (hydrogen and carbon capture & storage are not part of this scenario). There is already a 33% share of RE in Germany’s electricity energy mix today.

The German Federal Government is developing a Climate Plan to achieve the 80-95% GHG reduction by 2050 below 1990 levels in an extensive process of consultation with state and local governments, other stakeholders and citizens. This dialogue aims to identify strategies that are most robust and have a broad base of support. It is also an opportunity to identify the framework conditions that subnational governments need for their local strategies to be successful, and to strengthen vertical integration of climate policies.

The World Future Council presented the Global 100%RE Campaign, which hosts the Global 100%RE Cities and Regions Network, managed by ICLEI. The Council referred to the power of target setting: “it catalyzes change by streamlining resources and providing a mandate for action” said Stephan Schürig. He also referred to the deEnet Regions network which includes 130 Regions in Germany, representing 29 million inhabitants, which have made a commitment to a 100%RE process in one way or another. Exciting progress all round!

The Emissions Gap 2015 report, published by UNEP on November 6, indicates an excess of 58 Gt CO2e by 2030 – implying that remaining within the 2oCelsius increase in temperature will be challenging without more intensified efforts. To help close the gap, as of November 5th, the German Federal Government is planning to put 2.7 GW of coal power generation capacity in Germany in a reserve and to decommission them by 2020, Dr. Benno Hain announced during the conference.

Prof. Dr. Ottmar Edenhofer, Potsdam Institute, Former Co-Chair of IPCC’s WG III did a much needed reality-check: “We are on a carbonization pathway: GHG emissions increased more between 2000-2010 than ever before”. This is not just because of the growth in population and GDP, but also because the carbon intensity has been increasing as a result of the renaissance in the use of coal. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates that the use of coal is subsidized by a factor of 10 due to the health costs on society (1 ton of coal in the market is subsidized by 150 USD) - in other words, coal use does not work in favor the poor.

Dr. Harry Lehmann, the author of the national German study, reiterated that technologies are available and that integration is necessary between European, national, and local policies – “it is not just a matter of costs or technologies but it is also a matter of social impacts and benefits”.

This links very well to the side event that took place on 10 to 11 November, back to back with UBA’s workshop: Kassel International dialogue on 100%RE, where ICLEI members such as Vancouver and Bologna took the floor.

A reminder of upcoming interesting events on 100%RE at the COP21 in Paris:

100% Renewable Energy Cities and Regions on stage
December 7, 16:30-17:30
Cities and Regions Pavilion in the Civil Society area (no UNFCCC accreditation needed)

Dialogue workshop on 100% Renewable Energy Cities (by invitation only)
December 7, 14:30-16:30
Cities and Regions Pavilion in the Civil Society area (no UNFCCC accreditation needed)

100% Renewable Energy: A global movement of local governments
December 2, 14:00-16:00
German Pavilion in the Blue Zone (Blue Zone – UNFCCC accreditation required)

To learn more visit www.iclei.or/lowcarboncity/100re

Download our full list of renewable energyevents at COP21.

And consult the 100% RE Cities & Regions Network Brochure.

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