Renewable energy sources are expected to contribute up to 80% of global energy supply by 2050, according to a new report published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Following a review of 164 scenarios, the IPCC found that renewables will play the major role in any successful plan to combat climate change.

“The report clearly demonstrates that renewable technologies could supply the world with more energy than it would ever need, and at a highly competitive cost,” said Steve Sawyer, secretary general of the Global Wind Energy Council. “The IPCC report … represents the most comprehensive high level review of renewable energy to date.”

The 1000 page report, which was adopted by 194 governments in May after marathon negotiations, considers the potential contribution from biomass, geothermal, hydro, ocean, solar and wind energy, as well as their potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, their integration into the energy networks, their contribution to sustainable development, and the policies which are needed to put them in place. The report also emphasises that wind power alone is capable of supplying more than 100% of future demand, and solar many times more.

The scenarios assessed by the IPCC estimate that renewable energy can save between 220 and 560 GTonne of CO2 in the period between 2010 and 2050.

“One key message from the report is that renewable energy sources will be paramount in the global battle against climate change” said Sawyer “however, it is up to policy makers to make this happen with adequate support and long-term commitment. One crucial opportunity for this will be the next round of climate negotiations in South Africa in December this year.”