The global benefits of a rapid transition to renewables

Windmills and solar panels in colorful fields at sunset

Global benefits by 2050 following a rapid transition to renewables

h
Up to
76% less
h
90% less
h
50% less
h
86% less
Biodiversity loss
Water pollution
Land loss and degradation
Disability and premature death from air pollution
An energy system powered by renewables will be two to 16 times better for people and nature than one dominated by fossil fuels
Electrification refers to the process of replacing technologies powered by fossil fuels, such as gas-fired boilers and furnaces, with ones powered by electricity, like heat pumps.

The science is clear: To ensure a livable planet, we must transform our global energy system, the primary driver of climate change. Now a report by WWF and the Boston Consulting Group quantifies the value of acting fast to improve energy efficiency, scale up renewable energy sources, and electrify everything from stovetops to vehicles.

Building a Nature-Positive Energy Transformation emphasizes that rapidly transitioning away from fossil fuels would yield substantial environmental and socioeconomic benefits, including improved air and water quality, food security, and human health. By 2050, for example, the air quality index would be 70% better than today’s and global biodiversity loss would slow. More than twice as many jobs would be created than in a business-as-usual scenario.

But the transition must be implemented thoughtfully. Clean energy development in the wrong places—like bioenergy supplanting native prairies or new dams fragmenting free-flowing rivers—would pose significant risks to ecosystems and communities. To minimize impacts, the report suggests strategies such as installing wind turbines on land already converted for agriculture. The key is holistic planning that engages communities and integrates conservation objectives from the get-go.

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World Wildlife magazine provides an inspiring, in-depth look at the connections between animals, people and our planet. Published quarterly by WWF, the magazine helps make you a part of our efforts to solve some of the most pressing issues facing the natural world.

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