In Our Lifetime, We Will See the End of the Fossil Fuel Era

June 16, 2016 | Joanne Kennell

Protesters with banner reading "Fossil Fuels = History"
Photo credit: Trocaire/flickr (CC BY 2.0). Image has been cropped.

Peace out fossil fuels.

According to a report released on Monday (June 13) in the Bloomberg New Energy Finance, wind and solar power will be cheaper than coal and gas by 2027. What’s more, electric vehicles could make up 25 percent of all cars by 2040.

As explained in the report, the peak year for coal, gas, and oil will be around 2025, and then it is all downhill from there — at least for the big oil conglomerates. By the year 2027, fossil fuels will be in a sharp decline, and since renewables will have been established long enough, they’ll likely be generating energy more cheaply than coal, gas, and oil refineries.

"You can't fight the future," lead researcher, Seb Henbest told Tom Randall of Bloomberg. "The economics are increasingly locked in."

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Over the next 25 years, $11.4 trillion US will be invested in new energy sources, and two-thirds of that will be dedicated to renewables, particularly wind and solar. Although there will be new coal plants built, most of those will be in India and emerging markets like Asia.

The report explains that "cheaper coal and cheaper gas will not derail the transformation and decarbonisation of the world’s power systems. By 2040, zero-emission energy sources will make up 60 percent of installed capacity."

Even though we are not quite there yet, the steady and continuous improvements to green technologies will soon make them even more viable than fossil fuels.

However, it is not all sunshine and roses — there is some bad news. As promising as all of this sounds, the Bloomberg report states that these projections won’t be enough to limit the global warming “tipping point,” or increase target of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), that was set by the 2015 Paris Climate Conference.

"Some US$7.8 trillion will be invested globally in renewables between 2016 and 2040, two-thirds of the investment in all power generating capacity, but it would require trillions more to bring world emissions onto a track compatible with the United Nations 2 degrees Celsius climate target," said Henbest in a Bloomberg New Energy Finance press release.

According to Andrew Freedman at Mashable, to meet the Paris targets, an additional $5.3 trillion US would need to be invested worldwide.

Nevertheless, just stop for a minute and take this all in. Within our lifetime, we will see the end of the fossil fuel era. How fantastic is that?

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