COP23: world leaders urged to strengthen renewables action plans

COP23: world leaders urged to strengthen renewables action plans

At the COP23 Summit in Bonn a wide-ranging coalition of businesses, NGOs, and energy industry experts have presented a raft of new measures designed to accelerate the roll out of renewable energy technologies globally.

To mark the Summit’s Energy Day The Climate Group, IEA, IRENA and Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) initiative came together to put forward a series of reports and proposals that promise to beef up energy industry decarbonisation efforts through to 2020 and beyond.

Presented under the UN’s Marrakesh Partnership – which aims to encourage governments and businesses to step up climate action measures prior to the Paris Agreement coming in to full effect in 2020 – the group unveiled fresh research on how national action plans can be strengthened to enable faster deployment of renewables, new corporate support for clean technologies, and additional funding for renewables research.

“With the price of renewable and storage technologies tumbling, and greater understanding on how to set the policy table for a cleaner energy mix and more integrated energy planning, the question before decision makers is, why wait?” said Rachel Kyte, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and CEO, Sustainable Energy for All.

She added that there was now ample evidence that clean energy investment could support both development efforts and the Paris Agreement. “The energy transition that we can see is underway and must be a transition towards energy systems around the world that secure sustainable energy for all,” she said. “This means placing energy efficiency first, adopting a laser like focus on ending energy poverty and using the renewable energy revolution to achieve universal access and a bending of the emissions curve.”

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) published new research detailing how the national climate action plans – or Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) in the UN jargon – are failing to keep pace with the renewables deployment being delivered by the energy industry.

The report argues that there is “substantial scope” for NDCs to be strengthened to take advantage of the falling cost of renewables and support the roll out of clean technologies that would help move countries on to the most cost effective emissions reduction trajectory.

“Two-thirds of global greenhouse gas emissions stem from energy production and use, which puts the energy sector front and centre of global efforts to combat climate change,” said Adnan Z. Amin, director-general at IRENA. “Our analysis shows that renewables and energy efficiency can together provide over 90 per cent of the mitigation needed in the energy system by 2050 to achieve the ambitions of the Paris Agreement, while also boosting the economy, creating jobs and improving human health and well-being.”

“We have a large, untapped, and affordable renewable energy potential waiting to be developed,” he added. “Revising the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) gives countries an opportunity to take a fresh look at how to harvest this potential, not only for mitigation, but in light of the multiple socio-economic benefits of renewables, also for adaptation.”

Further support for renewables deployment is now in the pipeline, after the International Energy Agency (IEA) announced this week it had teamed up with 13 countries to launch the IEA Clean Energy Transitions Programme, a new multi-year, €30m plan to support clean energy transitions around the world.

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