A combination of renewable energy and energy efficiency would be enough to hold global climate change to 2 degrees of warming, according to new analysis by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

Almost 200 countries agreed to take action to hold warming well below 2 degrees at the UN climate change negotiations in Paris last year. Work now begins in earnest to work out what this will look like for individual countries and which policies will do the job most effectively.

IRENA’s report, Renewable Energy Benefits: Measuring the Economics says that doubling renewable energy’s current share of the global energy mix to 36 per cent by 2030 would create 24 million jobs and deliver about half of the emissions reduction necessary under the Paris agreement. Energy efficiency could take care of the rest.  

According to the research, the growth in renewables would see a corresponding growth in Australia’s economy of 1.7 per cent above business as usual, even factoring in a likely decline in coal exports. The benefit to the global economy would be A$1.9 trillion, the report says.

“The recent Paris Agreement sent a strong signal for countries to move from negotiation to action and rapidly decarbonise the energy sector,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Amin.

“This analysis provides compelling evidence that achieving the needed energy transition would not only mitigate climate change, but also stimulate the economy, improve human welfare and boost employment worldwide.

“Mitigating climate change through the deployment of renewable energy and achieving other socio-economic targets is no longer an either or equation,” he said.

Clean Energy Council spokesperson Mark Bretherton said a large part of Australia’s emissions come from our electricity generation.

“Policies such as the Renewable Energy Target have an important role to play to give Australians what most people want - a cleaner and smarter energy system which makes better use of our world-leading solar, wind and wave power.”