Some of the best news of 2015 about our ability to resist and adapt to climate change is the powerful increase in numbers of subregional and panregional governments, businesses, and cities taking action to speed the necessary transition to renewable energy. Part of the Lima-Paris Action Agenda, Energy Day at COP21 yesterday put the focus squarely on this key to the puzzle of approaching and surviving climate change.
“Transformation of the global energy system forms the backbone of climate action.”
The LPAA has been bringing government and nongovernment organizations “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.” Here’s its makeup:
The energy groups brought forth a lot of exciting new commitments yesterday. The morning session, organized by the International Renewable Energy Agency, focused on renewable energy. Said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin:
“The energy transition is underway worldwide. But to make the next step-change, the world must utilize all useful technologies, increase ambition among all actors in all regions of the world, and mobilize the funds needed to enable the transition.”
Amin added that it is possible to double the current capacity of renewable energy by 2030, which will give the global community “half of the emissions reductions that we need…. If you put that together with energy efficiency [measures], this is probably the most economic, most efficient and politically feasible way to remain under the two degrees threshold.”
“In order to achieve that target, the world needs to vastly increase its investment in clean energy. Annual investment in renewables is currently at US$280 billion, Amin said, and Irena estimates that the figure needs to jump to about US$500 billion by 2020.”
In the afternoon, the Sustainable Energy for All initiative put together a segment on energy efficiency and access.
“Energy efficiency is now fully recognized as the major contributor to fight climate change. According to the IEA, it can achieve 50 percent of the reduction in CO₂ emissions needed by 2030 to stay on a 2 degree track.”
This sequence highlighted the mobilization of the finance sector, the cities, the private sector, and countries. It focused on how five major initiatives related to buildings, district efficiency, fuel efficiency, appliances, and lighting can go a long way to cut down emissions.
The final session, which featured panelists Ban Ki-Moon, UN Secretary-General, and five other distinguished speakers, dealt with maintaining the momentum in the period 2016-2020.
Here are some of yesterday’s more important announcements from the LPAA Energy Day:
The Sustainable Energy Marketplace, a matchmaking platform connecting renewable energy projects and investors, expects to expand to 100 projects by the beginning of 2016 and to mobilize $10 billion in project financing over the next 3 years.
RE100, the global collaborative business initiative whose members commit to sourcing 100% of their electricity from renewables, announced six new members, bringing the total to 53 companies in all.
The Global Geothermal Alliance launched. It is set to achieve a 500% increase in global installed capacity for geothermal power generation and a 200% increase for geothermal heating by 2030.
The Africa Clean Energy Corridor expanded to Western Africa. The ACEC, currently operating in East and South Africa, is boosting renewable power deployment, reducing carbon emissions, and supporting sustainable, climate-friendly economic growth. By facilitating a larger electricity market, the initiative could attract sufficient investments to meet half of all power needs in eastern and southern Africa by 2030.
The Africa Renewable Energy Initiative presented ambitious plans to deploy renewable energy in Africa.
In another important energy-related event, “RE-Energising the Future” on Sunday, IRENA and several partners put together a gathering of governments, businesses, and civil society to showcase renewable energy solutions, innovation, and action. It included government representatives including Moroccan Energy Minister Abdelkader Amara, Governor Jerry Brown of California, and Clover Moore, Lord Mayor of Sydney and CEOs from MASDAR, Iberdrola, Solar Power Company Group, 50 Hertz, Google, Facebook, La Poste, Statoil, and Energias de Portugal. Attendees also heard from emerging industries that are innovating for the future–tidal power, geothermal energy, and battery storage, for example. On tap here were Tidal Lagoon Power, AltaRock, Hyperlook Technologies, Build Your Dreams, and M-KOPA.