Renewable energy deployment has to accelerate six-fold by 2030 if the world is to achieve the goal of cutting global carbon emissions by 45% and keep temperatures below 1.5 ˚C above pre-industrial levels.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) says it is possible for countries to stop the progression of fossil fuels.
The entities spoke at a joint event held at the United Nations Climate Summit, in Madrid, this week.
In September, the UNDP launched a new initiative called the Climate Promise, vowing to support as many countries as possible to revise and submit enhanced climate pledges – known as nationally determined contributions (NDCs) – by 2020.
Working with the NDC partnership and other partners, the UNDP will support 100 countries to accelerate the enhancement of national climate pledges by 2020, building on its climate action portfolio in over 140 countries.
“Energy is a crucial part of this work and Irena will provide the necessary knowledge and support countries to accelerate energy transitions driven by renewable energy.
“To date, 78 countries are drawing on the UNDP’s experience in disaster risk reduction, gender, health and nature-based solutions,” Irena said in a statement on Thursday.
Shifting to renewables will create far-reaching development impacts, triggering an economic stimulus and creating millions of jobs around the world, not to mention widespread health and other welfare benefits.
Renewable energy should be an integral part of countries’ climate pledges,” said UNDP administrator Achim Steiner.
“There is no sustainable development without renewable energy. It is possible to accelerate the low-carbon energy transition and achieve sustainable development, thereby creating inclusive and prosperous economies,” Irena director-general Francesco La Camera said at the Climate Summit.
According to Irena, out of the 156 NDCs submitted to date, 135 countries mention renewables, but most are underutilising renewables to raise their ambition.
The agency also estimates that more than $1.7-trillion a year will be needed by 2030 to implement adequate renewable energy targets, though much of that funding could come as a result of eliminating fossil fuel subsidies.
In September, both partners launched a global campaign called #ItsPossible, engaging policy-makers and investors to join a push for renewables in countries around the world. The campaign will carry over into next year.