Tag Archives: UNFCCC

[Video] Sustainable Transportation Innovators Speak Out at COP22 Energy Day

One of the sub-themes emerging at this year’s Global Climate Action Agenda Energy Day at COP22, co-organised by IRENA and Sustainable Energy for All, was sustainable transport. Bertrand Piccard, initiator, chairman and pilot of Solar Impulse, the pioneering aircraft that flew around the world powered only by the sun, captured the sentiments of many during the day’s discussions immediately following his participation.

Continue reading [Video] Sustainable Transportation Innovators Speak Out at COP22 Energy Day

Renewable Energy Track Underway as COP22 Opens in Marrakech

COP22, the United Nations annual climate conference, kicked off Monday in Marrakech, Morocco with delegations lighting solar lanterns to represent unity for a clean energy future, essential to achieve the goals set out in the Paris Agreement.

Ségolène Royal, French Environment Minister opened the meeting highlighting that this year is the African COP and the COP of action, she pointed out that we must focus on renewable energy, gender and climate justice.

Royal said, “African States are the most mobilized & committed of all, they are re-inventing the world of tomorrow. Our generation should not reproduce mistakes of the previous fossil based economies.” Continue reading Renewable Energy Track Underway as COP22 Opens in Marrakech

The Real Cost of Energy: Why Renewables Make More Sense

Op Ed by IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin (originally published in the Huffington Post)

Energy-related greenhouse gas emissions have plateaued for the second year running – an extraordinary fact considering the global economy grew by more than 3% in the same period. This news, coming just before leaders from 175 countries gathered in New York to sign the Paris Agreement, provides a welcome sign of real progress in the fight against climate change.

But stabilizing energy-related emissions is not enough to fulfil the ambition of the Paris Agreement – the kind of ambition needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. This will require using energy more efficiently, and transitioning rapidly (roughly six times faster than today’s pace) to an energy system powered by renewables. IRENA recently released the second edition of its Roadmap for a Renewable Energy Future (REmap) which provides recommendations on how to do just that. Continue reading The Real Cost of Energy: Why Renewables Make More Sense

Thought Leaders Talk Renewable Energy Solutions, Innovation and Action at Fourth Annual IRENA Financial Times Event

Over 500 leaders from government, business and civil society gathered yesterday at the headquarters of IRENA to discuss scaling up renewable energy as the cornerstone of global climate change mitigation. For the fourth consecutive year, the Financial Times-IRENA Question Time Debate provided a unique opportunity to discuss the international renewable energy agenda following the conclusion of IRENA’s annual Assembly. Continue reading Thought Leaders Talk Renewable Energy Solutions, Innovation and Action at Fourth Annual IRENA Financial Times Event

Energy Day at COP21: Unlocking Climate Solutions

An increasing number of governments, businesses and cities are taking action to accelerate the ongoing renewable energy transition. To spur momentum at COP21, yesterday was designated Energy Day in the context of the Lima-Paris Action Agenda (LPAA).

As described on the LPAA website, “The Lima-Paris Action Agenda brings both state and non-state actors together on the global stage to accelerate cooperative climate action now and into the future in support of the new, universal climate change agreement which governments will reach in Paris.”

Given the massive global focus on the Paris negotiations, it was no surprise that a slew of exciting new commitments were announced. The program for the day was literally packed with speakers and discussion panels. Continue reading Energy Day at COP21: Unlocking Climate Solutions

7 Things You Need to Know about Renewable Energy at COP21

As world leaders take the stage today at the opening of COP21, transitioning to a world powered by renewable energy will be at the core of their messages, whether they explicitly say so or not. Here are seven things you need to know about renewable energy as it relates to COP21:

ONE: Renewable energy is key to decarbonisation: A crucial issue on the table at COP21 is whether to adopt a long-term decarbonisation goal. To date, more than 120 countries have expressed support for such an approach. Given that the energy sector accounts for two-thirds of global emissions, renewable energy will be central to achieving whatever goal is ultimately adopted.

TWO: Energy Day is part of the Renewable Energy Track at the COP: The RE track will kick-off with a series of workshops on December 4 aimed at identifying and demonstrating important opportunities and benefits offered by renewables in a range of sectors including agriculture, industry, cities and transport.
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THREE: Exciting developments and innovations will be live streamed: On Sunday, December 6, a high level conference will be held in the heart of Paris looking at exciting developments and innovations in relation to renewable energy. The program and speaker line-up is available here, and while attendance is by invitation-only the conference will be live-streamed (URL to be announced at http://re-energising.org/)

FOUR: Paris isn’t Copenhagen: The renewable energy landscape has changed dramatically in the six years since the last major UN climate conference in Copenhagen, 2009. Solar PV module costs have fallen as much as 80% since then, and wind turbine prices have fallen by almost a third. In just the last three years, the world added more than 100 gigawatts of new renewable energy capacity every year – a number equivalent to the total installed generation capacity of Brazil. Renewable energy technologies are creating more jobs on average than fossil fuel technologies.

FIVE: It’s all about momentum: Renewable energy is a good news story, changing the climate narrative from one of sacrifice to one of opportunity. This allows governments to commit to going farther and faster, and thus creates momentum for the COP. The reverse is also true: it is the countries with strong renewable targets and enabling policies in place where deployment is increasing the fastest. COP21 has the power to speed up the renewable energy transition by taking decisions which put the world on a pathway to keeping global temperature rise as far below 2°C is possible.

SIX: Countries are making bold commitments: Countries representing more than 90% of the global economy have submitted pledges (INDCs in COP terminology) to reduce their emissions. Nearly all of them address energy consumption or production. In addition, 164 countries have adopted renewable energy targets aimed at speeding up the transition.

SEVEN: Monday December 7 is Energy Action Day at COP21: The morning will focus on renewable energy, while energy access will be addressed in the afternoon. A wide range of new initiatives will be announced by governments and business. More information here.

To join the conversation about renewable energy during COP21, follow #REenergise on Twitter.

 

Countries Say Out with Fossil Fuels, in With Renewable Energy As Climate Negotiations Resume

From 8-13 February, government leaders from around the globe gathered in Geneva, Switzerland to kick off a busy year of climate change negotiations. The UN climate change conference is just 10 months away and these sessions aim to smooth the way to a successful climate agreement come December.

The Ad Hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP), formed under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), succeeded in further expanding a draft negotiation text which will be used as a baseline for the remaining negotiations this year.

The full text is here, and a session brief is here, but one key takeaway was the broad acknowledgement that fossil fuel subsidies must be phased out while actions on renewable energy and energy efficiency must be scaled up.

The next step for governments is to present their national action plans (referred to as intended nationally ‎determined contributions – INDCs) in support of the new climate agreement. The national action plans will detail how countries plan to step away from fossil fuels, step towards renewable energy and increase their resilience to climate change.

IRENA participated in the session to share resources with delegates that can aid in the elaboration of their national action plans. For example, IRENAs renewable readiness assessments (already completed with 22 individual countries), island roadmaps, and the Remap 2030 reports all contain valuable information on the global potential and opportunities for renewable energy. Resource, the newly launched online search platform, also contains data and information countries can use as they consider their contributions.

The IRENA team gave a presentation focused on the REmap 2030 work programme, reviewing the global status of renewable energy deployment and the potential, cost, and benefits of doubling the global share of renewables by 2030.

As the road to Paris continues, IRENA will continue working with countries to aid where possible in the development of their INDCs.

For more information, email remap@irena.org

Climate Change and Renewable Energy: The Good, The Bad, and The Necessary

During the last day of IRENA’s fifth Assembly today, experts from across the climate change sphere kicked off discussions on the role of renewable energy in climate change. IRENA Director-General Adnan Amin, Executive Director of the UN Climate Change Secretariat Christiana Figueres, French Minister for Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy Ségolène Royal and Peru Climate Change Representative Rómulo Acurio, led discussions from the panel.

It was clear from the session that (1) there is no solution to climate change without enabling policies for renewable energy and (2) there is no global renewable energy uptake without a strong climate agreement.

Here is an overview of the bad, the good and the just plain necessary when it comes to climate change and renewable energy:

THE BAD:

  • 2014 was the hottest year on record.
  • The release of the IPCC fifth assessment report confirmed that emissions are at their highest level in over 800 years and must fall by 40 – 70 percent by 2030 if we are to stay at or below the 2 degree greenhouse gas level.
  • Policies currently in place will not decrease emission levels enough to avoid catastrophic climate change.
  • Global emissions continue to grow and vested interests pose a serious threat to changing the status quo.

THE GOOD:

  • Growing urgency has led to growing engagement of stakeholders at local, national and regional levels.
  • Many countries are moving on commitments:
    • the EU aims to cut emissions by at least 40 percent of 1990 levels by 2030
    • China and the US have agreed to limit their combined emissions
    • India announced its plans to increase its solar power capacity by 100 megawatts by 2022
    • France announced it would no longer provide development finance for the building of coal-fired power stations
    • Countries have pledged resources amounting to over 10 billion US dollars to the Green Climate Fund.
  • REmap2030 shows that doubling the global share of renewable energy would mitigate climate change, and actually save money in the long run while creating millions of jobs worldwide.
  • Renewable energy technologies are now readily available – they are robust and efficient, increasingly able to generate power even in sub-optimal conditions. Prices continue to decline, making them cost-competitive
  • Investment in renewables has risen from 55 billion dollars in 2004 to 310 billion dollars in 2014
  • Renewables are ready to take centre stage as viable, affordable and available solutions to climate change

THE NECESSARY:

  • REmap 2030, shows that doubling the share of renewables could help mitigate climate change, but this would require investments in clean energy in the order of 44 trillion US dollars until 2050, compared to a business as usual scenario.
  • USD 90 trillion will be invested in infrastructure in the next 15 years. This development must be done using technologies that ensure a low carbon future.
  • Leaders must agree a new climate deal in the next 10 months. We know it is possible to achieve the 2 degree objective and avoid the catastrophic impacts of climate change, if we continue and accelerate action on climate change right now.

IRENA and UNFCCC Discuss “Vital” Role of Renewables in Fighting Climate Change

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“Quite frankly, there is no answer to climate change without substantially, dramatically, increasing the amount of renewable energy in the global energy system.” – UNFCCC’s Christiana Figueres during IRENA video interview

Today, IRENA’s Director-General Adnan Amin met with head UN climate chief Christiana Figueres to discuss the key role of renewables in addressing climate change.

More than 80% of human-caused CO2 emissions come from burning fossil fuels for energy. Of that, 44% comes from coal, 36% from oil and 20% from natural gas. As such, energy must be our priority in bringing down global CO2 emissions.

World electricity generation is forecast to grow 70% by 2030. A doubling in the share of renewable energy, from 18% today to 36%, would help mitigate climate change by reducing the global average emissions to the equivalent of a 40% intensity reduction compared to 1990 levels.

For more, read IRENA’s REmap 2030 analysis.