A recent INET Oxford study on the economics of the clean energy transition has been covered by hundreds of news outlets, cited in multiple high-profile policy papers, and inspired a short documentary.

Researchers Dr Rupert Way, Dr Matthew C Ives, Dr Penny Mealy, and Professor J. Doyne Farmer recently published a study in which they show that completely replacing fossil fuels with clean energy by around 2050 will save us trillions in energy costs alone. In other words, accelerating the transition to renewable energy is now the best bet not just for the planet, but for energy costs as well.

Out for just eight months, the study is already helping to change common understandings of the benefits of accelerating our transition to clean energy. By showing that the clean transition could be an important economic boon, the work is helping stamp out the myth that action on clean energy will be a costly economic burden. In fact, it shows we should be transitioning quickly to clean energy even if global heating were not an issue, due to the savings involved.

The environmentalist Bill McKibben has called the study ‘the most important energy paper in a long time’, saying that ‘fifty years from now, people may look back on it as a landmark step in addressing the climate crisis’.

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‘The most important energy paper in a long time’ Bill McKibben - Environmentalist, Author and Journalist

The Conservative MP Chris Skidmore recently published Mission Zero - a wide-ranging review of the UK's net zero plans, in which he prominently cites the study. This review recognises that the economy and climate are deeply intertwined and called net zero “the economic opportunity of the 21st century”, suggesting the narrative around the economics of sustainability is shifting substantially.

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"Oxford research has shown that a fast transition to net zero based on scaling up key green technologies will continue to drive their costs down, and transitioning to a decarbonised energy system based on green technologies by 2050 can save the world at least $12 trillion, compared to continuing our current levels of fossil fuel use.” Mission Zero: Independent Review of Net Zero - Chris Skidmore MP

The study has also been cited in policy reports by organisations such as the OECD, IRENA, the ILO, and the Rocky Mountain Institute. Building on this policy impact, Professors Eric Beinhocker and J. Doyne Farmer were invited to participate in a White House meeting on climate and the macroeconomy held during the 2023 Spring Meetings of the World Bank and the IMF, in cooperation with the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action.

In the media, it has been covered by BBC News, the Guardian and the New York Times on multiple occasions, as well as by Nature, the Daily Mail, the Independent, the New Yorker, La Repubblica, the Times, and hundreds of other outlets around the world. As well as prompting this RE:TV documentary, the study was listed as one of Carbon Brief’s top 20 climate papers of 2022.

Find out more about how decarbonising the energy system by 2050 could save trillions here.