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What is the energy transition and why is it important?

The definition of energy transition is a gradual and steady shift of global energy use from fossil-based sources to a zero-carbon system by 2050, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The energy transition is the main tool in a broader strategy adopted by governments to contain global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels by mid-century. The green energy transition is necessary to reduce the energy-related CO2 emissions from fossil fuels that scientific research confirms are a key factor in climate change, and thereby mitigate its disruptive impacts. Electrification of final consumption, or replacing fossil fuel-based technologies in all sectors with technologies that use electricity produced from renewable sources, can make a significant contribution to the process of decarbonization.

 

An energy transition that is grounded in renewables is important because it delivers benefits that go beyond solving the climate crisis. The transition, according to IRENA, can:

  • Create new jobs and economic growth
  • Underpin sustainable development
  • Improve health by reducing pollution

What are the benefits of the energy transition?

A successful energy transition reducing net carbon emissions to zero by the middle of the century would ensure significant benefits to the environment, the economy and quality of life for people around the globe, for generations to come. Here are some of the main benefits:
  • Cutting carbon emissions by 45% by 2030, and then to net zero by 2050, would keep global warming at no more than 1.5℃ below pre-industrial levels, limiting the impacts of climate change such as rising sea levels, floods, wildfires, drought and higher temperatures from becoming worse than those already taking place;
  • Cleaner air would reduce diseases caused by pollution, delivering important health benefits;
  • Conservation of natural resources, thereby protecting the biodiversity that supports life on the planet as we know it; 
  • Reduced exposure to fluctuations in fossil fuel prices from geopolitics results in a more reliably-priced energy supply, helping businesses and families plan for the future
Electrification: definition and meaning

Electrification: definition and meaning

Overall, the energy transition’s impact extends far beyond the environment, touching nearly every aspect of society.

What does the energy transition mean for society?

Electrification

Electrification

The process driving the energy transition for a sustainable world

The energy transition advantages for society e   offer a huge opportunity to boost sustainable economic well-being, employment growth, and the social development of the communities involved.

 

The evolution of renewable technologies will create completely new “green” jobs that will more than offset those lost to traditional fossil fuel sectors, according to the International Energy Agency’s World Energy Outlook 2021, which estimates that a total of 13 million new jobs could be created by 2030.

The energy transition, after an initial investment, can reduce energy bills and industrial costs, thereby freeing up capital for investment in other areas such as sustainable business and development models.

 

Investment in sustainable projects and the application of circular economy models as part of the energy transition can be a tool for social equity, and a way to rebalance fairness between parts of the world that are at different stages of their development.  The energy transition is a one-off opportunity to tackle energy poverty in which people are unable to ensure the adequate heating (or cooling) of their homes or an adequate supply of energy for domestic uses.

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