IRENA: Paris could underpin renewable energy ambitions growth

Adnan Amin at COP23 (Photo: IRENA)

Countries have an opportunity to significantly increase renewable energy ambition and to accelerate its deployment in an effort to reach climate objectives under the Paris Agreement, a new report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has found.

Released on November 10, 2017, at the UN Climate Change Conference, the COP23, in Bonn, Germany, the report found that current Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), which set out the actions that countries plan to undertake to achieve the Paris Agreement objectives, could be substantially enhanced to meet global climate objectives.

Entitled ‘Untapped Potential for Climate Action: Renewable Energy in Nationally Determined Contributions’, the report also identified that renewable energy already targeted within national energy strategies often exceeds renewable energy capacity currently envisaged under NDCs.

The report states that renewable energy deployment levels under current NDCs would bring online 80GW of renewable energy capacity globally each year, between 2015 – 2030.

However, the current pace of deployment has seen countries install 125GW of new renewable energy capacity on average annually between 2010 and 2016, suggesting that NDCs can better reflect the global energy transition, IRENA said.

The report has also found that a more integrated approach would send a clearer message to the global investment community willing to invest in the renewable energy sector.

Adnan Amin, IRENA Director-General, said: “The case for renewable energy has strengthened considerably since parties first quantified the renewable energy components of their nationally determined contributions. 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 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.

“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.”

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, according to IRENA.