A new set of initiatives to transition toward renewable energy has been announced, which is believed to quickly become a bigger part of national climate plans submitted under the Paris Climate Change Agreement.
Speaking at Energy Day at the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn on Friday, Rachel Kyte, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and CEO, Sustainable Energy for All said: “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?”
COP23: Securing sustainable energy for all
Kyte explained: “Our pledge to leave no one behind is a critical component of 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.”
“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. With each year, each COP, the health and economic impacts of carbon pollution are better documented and the science of what awaits us, if we continue on our current path, mounts,” she said.
Adnan Z. Amin, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Director-General said: “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.
“Our analysis shows that renewables and energy efficiency can together provide over 90% 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. 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,” said Amin.
Slow effects of climate change
The central goal of the Paris Agreement is to keep the average global temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius and as close as possible to 1.5 degrees.
About one degree of that rise has already happened, underlining the urgency to progress much further and faster with the global clean energy transformation.
Fatih Birol, International Energy Agency (IEA) Executive Director, said: “The transition of the energy sector in the next decades will be critical to meeting shared climate and sustainable development goals.
"Widespread action by governments and private sector alike has helped keep global energy-related emissions flat the last three years. Our analysis shows we can meet climate goals while achieving energy access and improving the environment.”