Countries have an opportunity to significantly increase renewable energy ambition within Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), and to accelerate its deployment in line with climate objectives under the Paris Agreement. This is according to a new report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), released at the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany last week.
The report found that current NDCs and energy strategies can be substantially enhanced to meet global climate objectives. Entitled Untapped Potential for Climate Action: Renewable Energy in Nationally Determined Contributions, it also found that renewable energy that’s already targeted within national energy strategies often exceeds renewable energy capacity currently envisaged under NDCs.
Renewable energy deployment levels under current NDCs would bring online 80 GW of renewable capacity globally each year, between 2015 and 2030. However, the current pace of deployment has seen countries install 125 GW of new capacity on average annually between 2010 and 2016, suggesting that NDCs can better reflect the global energy transition.
In addition, the report highlights that a more integrated approach would send a clearer message to the global investment community willing to invest in this sector.
“The case for renewable energy has strengthened considerably since parties first quantified the renewable energy components of their nationally determined contributions,” said Adnan Z. Amin, IRENA Director-General at a press conference for the Global Climate Action energy, water, and agriculture thematic segment. “Since then, the increasing attractiveness of renewables as the lowest-cost source of new energy supply in countries around the world has fueled unprecedented levels of deployment.
As part of a mechanism built into the Paris Agreement, countries are required to update or submit new NDCs over time, each of which is designed to be progressively more ambitious than the last. With the second round of NDCs due in 2020, a ‘Facilitative Dialogue’ is set to start in 2018, during which Parties will take stock of initial progress toward the collective goals in the Agreement.
Furthermore, while the power sector emissions are addressed in most NDCs, significant carbon reductions in end uses of energy (mobility, heating, and cooling) are needed to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement. The use of renewable energy in other sectors of the economy such as transport, industry and residential buildings can also support increased ambition.
“As the global community prepares for a new round of climate negotiations under the Paris Agreement, it is critical we go in with a clear understanding of the trajectory required to avoid the worst effects of climate change,” continued Amin. “Our analysis finds that the convergence of innovation, falling costs and positive socioeconomic impacts of renewable energy – together with the climate imperative – make a compelling case for accelerating action.”
IRENA also used the platform of the UN Climate Change Conference to announce the establishment of a new facility focused on providing strategic planning and technical support to countries to raise achievable renewable energy ambitions under their NDCs.
“Given the gap we have found that exists between what countries are pledging to do under the Paris Agreement and actual progress and potential on the ground, it is clear that there is an opportunity to work with countries in a targeted fashion to ramp up both implementation and ambition,” added Amin.
Key findings of the report, are:
- Substantial scope exists for countries to increase their renewable energy ambitions in a cost-effective way under NDCs.
- In Africa, NDCs could cost-effectively target 310 GW of renewable energy by 2030, almost four and a half times the capacity outlined currently in NDCs on the continent and more than twice the capacity envisaged in NDCs and national plans.
- Only ten G20 countries currently include quantified renewable energy targets in their NDCs, while all of them have set targets as part of their national energy plans and strategies.
- NDCs of G20 countries – responsible for 80% of the global energy-related CO2 emission reductions needed by 2050 – could aim for an installed renewable energy capacity of 4.6 terrawatts (TW) by 2030, 60% more than would be achieved though the combined implementation of national energy targets and current NDCs.
- Greater alignment of renewable energy targets under NDCs and in national energy plans would facilitate the mobilization of the investments required to accelerate the energy transition and advance progress toward achieving global climate objectives.
- Achieving power sector renewable energy targets under current NDCs, requires almost USD 1.7 trillion by 2030 – USD 1.2 trillion of which is required for unconditional targets, and USD 500 billion will be needed to support targets conditional upon international support.
To access the full report, click here.