The majority of the world’s countries could run entirely on wind-, solar-, and hydro-generated electricity by 2050 and create tens of millions of jobs in the process, according to a blueprint developed by an engineering research team in California.
“If all 139 countries followed their plans for permanently ditching fossil fuels, it would open up 24 million construction jobs and 26.5 million operational jobs, each with a 35-year lifespan, which more than covers the 28.4 million jobs that would be lost in collapsed fossil fuel industries,” Science Alert reports. Team leads Mark Jacobson of Stanford University and Mark Delucchi of the University of California, Davis will be at the UN climate summit in Paris November 30-December 11, looking for “one-on-one time with as many world leaders as possible during that time.”
“The people there are just not aware of what’s possible,” said Jacobson, who is scheduled for two presentations during the summit.
“The purpose of the blueprints is to show that 100 percent renewable energy isn’t just a green pipe dream—it’s technically and economically feasible,” Crew writes. Beyond job creation, “the change would also lead to considerably cleaner air, which the engineers have estimated will prevent the 3.3 to 4.6 million premature deaths that occur every year due to atmospheric pollution. Right now, these deaths cost around 3% of the global GDP to mitigate.”
Moreover, by 2020 or 2021, when global solar capacity is expected to hit 600 gigawatts, the unsubsidized cost per kilowatt-hour is expected to drop to 4.5 to 6.5¢, depending on local solar resources. “Not bad, when you consider coal-fired electricity can cost anywhere from 6.6 to 15.1¢ per kWh, and it’s 6 to 8¢ for natural gas,” Crew notes. “And that’s not including all the associated health costs.”