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Renewable energy after COP21

Richard Heinberg

December 14, 2015

The COP21 conference in Paris in December 2015 was the biggest international agreement on climate change since Kyoto. Now comes the hard part of cutting greenhouse gas emissions fast enough to keep global average temperature rise under 1.5 degrees Celsius. Many leaders in the environmental and philanthropic communities say the best way to do this is to transition modern society to 100% renewable energy as quickly as possible. They’re right, of course—but just how difficult will that be?

In this short paper addressed to climate leaders in the environmental and philanthropic communities, Richard Heinberg describes the key technical challenges of the transition, drawing from his new book (Our Renewable Future, forthcoming 2016) co-written with David Fridley of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.