Renewable Energy Capacity Must Triple Before the End of the Decade

By Paddy Balfour
Jan 10, 2024 11:30 AM ET
A city skyline at sunset, a body of water in front.

Renewable energy output needs to increase three-fold by 2030 to help prevent global warming exceeding 1.5°C, with governments being urged to step up rapid action.

The United Arab Emirates’ COP28 presidency, along with two renewable energy organisations, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the Global Renewables Alliance, have released a joint report which revealed capacity for renewable energy has to “reach more than 11,000 GW” by 2030.

The report has been released ahead of the COP28 climate summit, to be held at the end of November, which strives for global transformative climate action. Countries will unite en masse in the hope of striking a deal on the capacity increase during the climate negotiations, hosted in Dubai.

A total of 20 nations, including China, the United States and India, have agreed to work towards tripling the global renewable energy capacity by the end of the decade.

The 1.5°C target was implemented following the Paris Agreement in 2015 but there are still considerable gaps creating hurdles to overcome to meet the ambitious goal.

Why is the Paris Agreement important?

The agreement was adopted by 196 parties at COP21 in Paris. According to scientists, the planet will exceed the 1.5°C threshold in the coming decade if urgent action isn’t taken to reduce CO2 emissions, threatening people, wildlife and ecosystems with drastic effects from climate change.

The challenge of striking a deal between nearly 200 countries at COP28 will be immense and the report calls for strong regulatory frameworks, financial incentives, more time-focused targets and awareness campaigns, as well as doubling energy efficiency.

“Why is the Paris Agreement hard to achieve? How does COP28 factor into this?”

European nations and climate-vulnerable states have made it clear that it isn’t enough to agree to scale up clean energy if countries are not aligned in turning their backs on the polluting energy responsible for climate change.

They firmly believe a renewable energy deal at the global summit must align with a pledge to phase out CO2-emitting fossil fuels - which has faced resistance from Saudi Arabia, Russia and other fossil fuel-reliant economies.

Wopke Hoekstra, European Union climate policy chief, told Reuters: "You cannot just have the renewables goal and then call the COP a success."

Paddy Balfour, Executive Director – Acre APAC, said: “Setting an unambiguous climate goal is one thing but ensuring that every country on board is working at their highest level to ensure the target is achieved is another. We are edging closer to the Paris Agreement deadline, time really is running out.

“We need a unanimous decision at COP28 to see climate-vulnerable nations receive the necessary level of financial support and shine the spotlight on both nature and people.

“It is therefore imperative that COP28 leads to less talk and focuses on setting the wheel in motion for more tangible, effective action.”

The UAE’s Sultan al-Jaber will lead the COP28 talks, which has been deemed a controversial decision by some lawmakers and environmentalists in the US and EU, due to his status as head of state oil giant ADNOC, and the UAE's climate envoy.

COP28 runs from Nov 30th - Dec 12th.

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