New report highlights need to harness exponential growth of renewable powerWe Mean Business coalition and UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources
LONDON, Oct. 08, 2020 — Today the We Mean Business coalition’s latest report highlights the urgency for businesses and governments to harness and drive the exponential growth of renewable energy to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, maximize economic and jobs potential, and avoid being left behind with outdated technology by the accelerating pace of change.
The report, Shape and Pace of Change in the Electricity Transition: Sectoral dynamics and indicators of progress, commissioned by the We Mean Business coalition and conducted by UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources (UCL ISR), highlights that historically industries, policymakers and commentators have often been caught off-guard by the pace of change that can erupt in markets, technologies and societies. It explains how change is not linear and that the speed and scale of market transformation can be seismic, as seen with the transition from propellers to jet engines, landlines to cell phones and many more examples.
The report identifies that the adoption of renewable power to date fits with the dynamics of the ‘S-curve’ pattern of new technology adoption, where an early emergent growth phase gathers magnitude as the new technology is established and enters a phase of widespread diffusion characterized by exponential rates of growth.
Harnessing the exponential growth of this ‘S-curve’ is vital to drive the pace and scale of change necessary, both in technological progress and the diffusion of zero-carbon technologies, if we are to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in line with the most ambitious goals of the Paris Agreement. Failure to harness the ‘S-curve’ potential could risk competitiveness and jobs at a time when the economy needs it most – in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The analysis shows that early progress has been made across the key metrics for decarbonizing the power sector. But for the full potential of renewables to be realized, additional urgent action is needed from policymakers and businesses to decarbonize all sectors of the economy. Meanwhile, continuing investment in fossil fuels risks stranded assets stalling the economic recovery.
Maria Mendiluce, CEO, the We Mean Business coalition, said: “Harnessing exponential growth in zero-carbon technologies such as renewables is like supercharging our collective efforts to tackle the climate crisis. Whereas failure to support in the early stages is not only a wasted opportunity for creating the jobs and growth of the future, but it also increases the risk of stranded assets and being left behind in the race to a zero-carbon future.”
Michael Grubb, Professor of Energy and Climate Change, University College London, said: “The breakthroughs in solar, wind, and batteries have created unstoppable momentum towards growing market share. People still overlook the implications of exponential growth: the pace of growth in solar especially has outstripped all expectations, and the combined wind+solar growth rate is on track for the kind of transition needed to deliver the Paris emission goals in the power sector. But obstacles remain which could slow the pace of transition and prevent realization of the full potential. High ambition still requires strong and broad-based policy action.”
Download the full report here.
For more information, interviews please contact Tara Burke, e: [email protected] t: +44 7747745675
Notes to editors:
Find out more about the power of ‘S-curve’ dynamics to help achieve the most ambitious goals of the Paris Agreement and align with the 1.5ºC trajectory: Download Full Report
About the We Mean Business coalition:
The We Mean Business coalition is a group of nonprofit organizations working with the world’s most influential businesses to take action on climate change. The global coalition brings together seven organizations: BSR, CDP, Ceres, The B Team, The Climate Group, The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. Together we catalyze business action to drive policy ambition and accelerate the transition to a zero-carbon economy. Find out more at wemeanbusinesscoaltion.org.
About UCL ISR:
UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources (UCL ISR) is a world-leading centre of research and teaching excellence that generates knowledge in the globally sustainable use of natural resources and trains the future leaders of this field. Find out more about UCL ISR: www.ucl.ac.uk/bartlett/sustainable/
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