Renewable Energy: A global group of over 200 climate and energy organisations has signed an open letter calling for world leaders and Parties to the Paris Agreement to agree at the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) to triple renewable energy by 2030. The open letter has been prepared by the Global Renewables Alliance, a unified renewable energy voice calling for increased ambition and accelerated uptake of renewable energy. The open letter was published on September 18, 2023, on the second day of Climate Week NYC, an annual event held in partnership with the UN General Assembly, and run in coordination with New York City. Some of the private companies that signed the letter include Amazon, Vestas and Huawei.
In the G20 New Delhi Leaders’ Declaration, leaders pledged to triple renewable energy capacity by 2030, as part of efforts to accelerate a transition to clean energy, and mitigate climate change.
Why the organisations have called for a global target to triple renewable energy capacity
The organisations wrote in the open letter that the fastest and most cost-efficient way to decarbonise the global economy is to grow renewable energy capacity, and increase energy efficiency. This will ensure a sustainable future for everyone.
It is important to increase the scale and speed of deployment of renewable energy technologies over the next seven years to limit global warming to less than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
The Sharm El-Sheikh Implementation Plan signed at the 27th UN Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Egypt emphasised that enhanced effective climate action should be implemented in a manner that is inclusive, and minimises negative social or economic impacts that may arise from climate action. World leaders consider this decade one of climate action, and are calling for energy transition.
How can renewable energy capacity be tripled to at least 11,000 GW by 2030?
In order to triple renewable energy capacity to at least 11,000 GW by 2030, it is important to accelerate the construction of infrastructure harnessing wind power, solar power, hydropower, and geothermal power. If such technologies are built, the world will be able to leverage long-duration energy storage and use green hydrogen. If energy systems are clean, secure, and just, it will be easier to set the stage for a net zero global energy system by 2050, the letter said.
Renewable energy has revolutionised the world by bringing electricity to countless homes, powering cars and factories with clean electricity, and employing millions of people in green jobs. This means that if renewable energy capacity is tripled, not only will “loss and damage” of nature and people caused by climate change be reduced, but also will sustainable, inclusive, and climate-resilient growth be encouraged.
In order to achieve the common target, each country and region must modify its Nationally Determined Contributions. Coordination among the renewable energy industry, investors, important stakeholders, and governments is required to fulfil the goal.
The organisations wrote in the letter that the global target to triple renewable energy capacity by 2030 can be achieved by committing to ambitious energy transition plans, streamlining permitting schemes for grid-scale renewable energy projects, investing in grid action plans, promoting multilateral renewable energy partnerships and trade agreements to support energy transition, maximising the potential for a nature-positive energy transition by including renewables, and strengthening commitment to Sustainable Development Goal 7 to achieve an orderly energy transition by 2030, among other steps.
In 2022, power sector emissions reached an all-time high, and the UN said that no country has taken credible action to ensure that the global temperature increase is limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius. This proves that time is running out, and hence, a quick course correction of energy systems is required.
The organisations noted that tripling renewable energy capacity by 2030 represents a “quantum leap in climate action”, and requires international solidarity, and a holistic approach to energy system transformation, and large-scale electrification.
Francesco La Camera, Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), said that IRENA supports the call for a global renewable target at COP28, and that the agency’s World Energy Transitions Outlook calls for an immediate course-correction for a 1.5°C climate pathway. He emphasised the importance of overcoming systemic barriers across infrastructure, policy, and institutional capabilities in the coming years, and building a new energy system characterised by renewable energy.
Bruce Douglas, CEO of the Global Renewables Alliance, said that “actions speak louder than ambition”, and that while the renewables industry is ready, willing and able to step up, policymakers must take urgent action to deliver on the goals of the Paris Agreement. He stated that net zero by 2050 will become a reality if the solutions of the renewables industry are deployed at scale. This will set the stage for a just energy transition.
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