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Irena adds voice to warnings that energy transition progress is too slow

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Irena adds voice to warnings that energy transition progress is too slow

Highlights

Transition scale and pace 'inadequate'

'Steadfast' commitment to climate goals needed

Must address energy crisis with transition drive

  • Author
  • James Burgess
  • Editor
  • Jonathan Fox
  • Commodity
  • Coal Energy Transition

The scale and pace of the transition to a renewables-based global energy system is "inadequate," the International Renewable Energy Agency has warned in its World Energy Transitions Outlook, calling for a "steadfast" commitment to climate goals as countries respond to the current energy crisis.

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Irena Director General Francesco La Camera said achieving energy security, economic recovery and lower energy bills must lie in accelerating the energy transition.

"The energy transition is far from being on track and anything short of radical action in the coming years will diminish, even eliminate chances to meet our climate goals," La Camera said in a statement March 29.

"It's a political choice to put policies in place that comply with the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Agenda," he added. "Investing in new fossil fuel infrastructure will only lock in uneconomic practices, perpetuate existing risks and increase the threats of climate change."

Increasing the deployment of renewables would allow countries to decouple their economies from fossil fuels and the exposure to high prices, La Camera said.

Electrification and energy efficiency are key drivers, enabled by renewables, hydrogen and sustainable biomass, he said.

Irena called for the scaling up of renewables to around 40% of total energy across all sectors by 2030, from 14% at present.

Global annual renewables additions should triple by 2030, in line with recommendations by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Coal-fired power must also be replaced, along with the phasing out of fossil fuels, while infrastructure should be upgraded.

Irena sees a larger role for developed economies in the deployment of renewables, calling for the G20 countries as the world's largest energy consumers and CO2 emitters to support the global supply of 65% renewables in power generation by 2030.

It also urged increased ambition in National Determined Contributions and national energy plans under the Glasgow Climate Pact to provide certainty and guide investment strategies in line with limiting global temperature increases to 1.5 C above pre-industrial levels.

IPCC warning

The report comes a month after the IPCC warned that human-caused climate change has already led to irreversible impacts on the planet, with additional severe risks to human and natural systems if the world overshoots a 1.5 C temperature rise.

The IPCC report on climate change impacts, adaptation and vulnerability was overshadowed by Russia's invasion of Ukraine just days before. However, it highlighted urgent action that was required to address the already increasing risks from climate change.

Climate-resilient development is already challenging with current temperature increases, and would become more limited if temperatures rise 1.5 C above preindustrial levels, the IPCC said, adding that it would become impossible in some regions with increases of more than 2 C.

About 3.3 billion to 3.6 billion people live in settings that are highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change, the IPCC said.

Climate change is already causing "dangerous and widespread disruption in nature and affecting the lives of billions of people around the world, despite efforts to reduce the risks," it said.

The report said the world faces "unavoidable multiple climate hazards over the next two decades with global warming of 1.5 C. Even temporarily exceeding this warming level will result in additional severe impacts, some of which will be irreversible. Risks for society will increase, including to infrastructure and low-lying coastal settlements."