International Leaders Unite for Global Renewable Energy Goal
European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, has echoed the call for setting a global target for renewable energy. In addition, she proposed establishing a separate global target for energy efficiency, with the aim of achieving these targets by the COP28 United Nations climate talks in Dubai at the end of 2023. Von der Leyen made these remarks during the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate, hosted by US President Joe Biden.
The idea of a global renewables target was previously discussed by ministers from 43 countries at a meeting in Copenhagen last month. Francesco La Camera, the head of the International Renewable Energy Agency, also expressed support for this initiative in an interview with Politico earlier this month.
António Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, urged the Major Economies Forum (MEF) countries, which represent 80% of global GDP, population are responsible for the majority of the world’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, to accelerate their transition towards renewable energy. He called for phasing out coal by 2030 in OECD countries and 2040 in all others, as well as ensuring that electricity generation is net-zero by 2035 in developed countries and 2040 elsewhere. Guterres also reiterated his previous call for developed countries to bring their climate neutrality targets forward to 2040.
There are several benefits to establish a global renewable energy target:
Setting a global renewable energy target can help to reduce GHG and mitigate climate change by encouraging countries to shift from fossil fuels to clean energy sources.
A global renewable energy target can also create a stable investment environment by providing a clear signal to investors, which can help to mobilize finance for renewable energy projects.
Diverse and decentralized renewable energy systems can enhance energy security by reducing dependence on imported fossil fuels and by providing more reliable and resilient power supplies.
The transition to renewable energy can also reduce air pollution and improve public health by reducing the emissions of harmful pollutants such as particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides.
Several countries and organizations have expressed support for setting a global renewable energy target. Some examples include:
The European Union (EU)
International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
The United States – The Biden administration has made climate action a priority and has pledged to transition to a clean energy economy.
Denmark hosted a meeting last month where ministers from 43 countries discussed the idea of a global renewables target.
China has set ambitious targets for renewable energy deployment and has pledged to peak its carbon emissions before 2030.
India – The country has set a target of achieving 450 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2030.
Germany – The country has set a target of achieving 65% renewable energy by 2030 and a phase-out of coal by 2038.
France – The country has set a target of achieving 40% renewable energy by 2030 and phasing out of coal by 2030.
Canada – The country has set a target of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 and has launched a plan to achieve 90% clean electricity by 2030.
But, setting a global renewable energy target comes with its share of major challenges as it may be difficult to adapt to different national contexts and may not be suitable for all countries due to their unique energy resources and infrastructure.
Furthermore, achieving a global renewable energy target would require significant investment in new infrastructure, research, and development, and may require large-scale international cooperation and coordination.
Reaching a global renewable energy target may require political will and may face resistance from powerful interests such as fossil fuel industries or governments that are not fully committed to renewable energy. The energy transition could also have major economic impacts such as job losses in the fossil fuel sector, which could pose a challenge for countries that heavily rely on these industries. However, the shift to renewable energy could also create new jobs and opportunities in the clean energy sector.
Setting a global renewable energy target has gained significant support from various countries and organizations as a means to address climate change and promote a transition to a clean energy economy. While the benefits are clear, achieving alignment and mobilization on the energy transition will be met with challenges and resistance. The energy transition will require ongoing discussions, leadership, and policy actions from major economies as a way forward.
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