IRENA report states that advancing green energy initiatives could spur economic growth, tackle climate emergency, and create millions of jobs.

Renewable energy can boost economic recovery from COVID-19 by boosting global GDP gains of $98 trillion (£79.5tn) between now and 2050. This is according to an in-depth report, by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) that supports countries in their transition to sustainable energy future in the pursuit of low-carbon economic growth and prosperity.

The agency’s Director-General Francesco La Camera, said: “Governments are facing a difficult task of bringing the health emergency under control while introducing major stimulus and recovery measures. The crisis has exposed deeply embedded vulnerabilities of the current system. IRENA’s Outlook shows the ways to build more sustainable, equitable, and resilient economies by aligning short-term recovery efforts with the medium-and long-term objectives of the Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Agenda.”

Whilst transitioning to a climate-safe green economy would require a cumulative energy investment of $130 trillion (£106tn) by 2050, IRENA projects this green investment would pay off 8 times more than costs with improved global health and environment accounted for.

Governments and institutions can accelerate investment in renewable energy and make energy transition an integral part of the major stimulus and recovery measures for bringing COVID-19 health emergency under control.

Investment in clean energy would generate 42 million jobs in the sector over the next 30 years, and achieve multiple health and social objectives, according to the report.

Clean hydrogen, advanced biofuels and carbon management are among the energy technologies that will be crucial to cut CO2 emissions beyond 2050 to net-zero, along with systematic changes and innovative business models. Green hydrogen is viewed as a key potential game-changer in decarbonizing a transport energy system especially the types of energy demand that are difficult to directly electrify, as outlined in the report.

So, could today’s crisis compromise bold clean energy transition? Better still, should this window of opportunity to align economic stimulus with climate goals, be taken now, or it will still be around ten or twenty years from now?