World falling short on renewable energy goal for 2030, IEA warns

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World falling short on renewable energy goal for 2030, IEA warns

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The world’s clean energy plans still fall almost a third short of what is needed to reach a renewable energy goal for 2030 agreed at UN climate talks last year, the International Energy Agency warned, as delegates from almost 200 countries meet again in Bonn this week.

Haggling over a new climate finance deal, and upgraded national pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions, will take place over 10 days at the UN talks to lay the groundwork for the COP29 climate summit in Baku in November.

Negotiations will also focus on how to make sure the plans agreed at COP28 in Dubai last year are met, including the aim of tripling global renewable energy generation capacity to at least 11,000 gigawatts by 2030.

Data released by the IEA on Tuesday shows that countries’ existing policies and estimates imply 8,000GW of renewable energy will be installed by the end of the decade. Almost 40 per cent of this capacity, or 3180GW, is made up by China’s plans for solar, wind and hydroelectric power.

The global renewable energy goal was “ambitious but achievable — though only if governments quickly turn promises into plans of action”, the agency’s executive director Fatih Birol said. 

Annual renewable capacity additions had tripled since the 2015 Paris Agreement to limit global warming, the IEA said, as the cost of solar and wind energy fell by 40 per cent. Nearly half of countries it assessed have plans to double renewable energy installation by 2030.

Against this progress, permitting delays, under-investment and grid infrastructure problems still dog most energy systems.

The pace of deployment of clean energy needed to accelerate in most regions including the EU, the US and India, the IEA said.

“You’re talking huge obstacles that have to be overcome in terms of finance, grid integration, critical minerals access, workforce development,” said Alden Meyer, a senior associate at the climate-focused think-tank E3G. “It’s a daunting goal and it’s great there was political consensus that we need to get there, but now [negotiators] are down to the hard part.”

Updated national decarbonisation plans that countries are due to submit to the UN by early 2025 should include more details of their renewable energy ramp-up goals, the IEA report recommended.

Delegates from almost 200 countries gather in Bonn for the UN climate discussions, which were disrupted more than once on the first day by protests © Christopher Neundorf/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Kicking off the meetings in Bonn that mark the halfway point to COP29 on Monday, UN climate chief Simon Stiell said the planet was on track for the “ruinously high” rise in the global temperature of 2.7C in the industrial era.

The discussions began against a downbeat backdrop. The German government’s climate adviser, the Council of Experts on Climate Change, said it was unlikely to hit its target to cut emissions 65 per cent by 2030 compared with 1990 levels. This is despite a slowdown in manufacturing that has contributed to the country’s lower emissions in the past year.

Flood warnings have also been issued for many parts of Germany this week and the Rhine was closed to shipping where water levels were too high. Areas of the country have experienced periods of extreme rainfall since the start of the year, in line with global trends.

The first day of talks was interrupted by protesters holding a Palestinian flag, and also held up by a Russian delegation complaint about access to German visas.

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