By 2050, the global economy is expected to double (OECD, 2018). Without a transition in the energy system, this expanding world economy will emit levels of carbon dioxide that leave little hope of halting climate change. It will also be putting increasing pressure on other planetary boundaries, including water resources, soil degradation and biodiversity. Angel Gurria, the Secretary-General of the OECD (2012, p.1), stressed that ‘continued degradation and erosion of natural environmental capital is expected to 2050, with the risk of irreversible changes that could endanger two centuries of rising living standards’. This risk is particularly alarming in light of the political tensions generated by the weakness of economic growth in OECD countries over the last decade. Following the global economic and financial crisis of 2008, economic growth has become a key priority for governments around the world. This sentiment has also pushed environmental stewardship down the list of priorities among much of the electorate and many politicians around the world. Yet, without coordinated political will, and carefully directed incentives, global markets will fail to take account of their environmental impacts, potentially triggering a downward spiral of environmental damage and economic hardships. Thus, the global economy stands at a critical juncture: it either achieves an energy transition and follows an environmentally-friendly growth path, or it risks locking itself onto an unsustainable trajectory.
Edited by Roger Fouquet
Economies around the world have arrived at a critical juncture: to continue to grow fuelled by fossil fuels and exacerbate climate change, or to move towards more sustainable, greener, growth. Choosing the latter is shown to help address climate change, as well as present new economic opportunities. This Handbook provides a deeper understanding of the concept of green growth, and highlights key lessons from the experience of green transformations across the world following a decade of ambitious stimulus packages and green reforms.
This timely research review discusses a selection of key articles on the economics of renewable energy. From a modest role as a backstop technology in the 1970s to a central role in low carbon transitions today, the review reveals the emergence and growing importance of this sub-field of economics. Topics covered include the costs of renewable power (taking account of issues related to technological development, intermittency and interconnection), policies that promote renewable energy development, its public and private demand, and its impact on the environment and the economy. This comprehensive and indispensible review serves as an essential source of reference for students and researchers.