The International Renewable Energy Agency’s (IRENA) new analysis finds that collective global ambitions on renewable energy are not enough to keep temperature increases below 1.5 degrees C.
According to the report released at COP27 in Egypt, entitled "Renewable Energy Targets in 2022: A guide to design," for the world to achieve the 2050 climate target, the targeted renewable power by 2030 would have to double compared with current targets.
Existing renewable energy targets in the power sector aim at 5.4 TW of installed capacity by 2030. This would be half of the 10.8 TW of installed capacity needed according to IRENA’s 1.5 degrees C Scenario, in which half of the total energy consumed in 2050 comes from electricity, 90% of which is renewable.
To achieve current targets by 2030, countries would need to add 2.3 TW of capacity, equivalent to adding 259 GW a year in the next nine years, which is below the almost 261 GW of annual additions already seen in 2020 and 2021, the agency said.
Non-ambitious targets could in fact become a cap on renewables, its report warns.
IRENA’s director-general Francesco La Camera said that the energy transition is far from being on track and called on world leaders to close the renewables deployment gap. “IRENA’s report is a warning to the international community telling them that renewables offer a readily achievable climate solution but require immediate action. Climate pledges must enhance ambition to unlock the full and untapped potential of renewables,” said La Camera.
IRENA’s analysis shows that 183 parties to the Paris Agreement have renewable energy components in their Nationally Determined Commitments (NDCs). Of these, 143 have quantified targets mainly focusing on the power sector, while only 12 countries set energy mix targets.
The need for immediate action to scale up renewable energy ambitions is underscored by recent geopolitical tensions and evidence of rising temperatures, the agency noted.
Furthermore, renewable power targeted by 2030 remains concentrated in a few regions globally. Asia makes up half of the global targeted capacity, followed by Europe and North America.
In comparison, the Middle East and North Africa account for only 3% of global deployment targets for 2030, despite the region’s high potential. Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for just over 2% of the global target for 2030.
Although members of the G20 — countries targeting the highest level of deployment — make up 90% of the global aggregated target, the least developed countries and developing island states are expected to double their current capacity, Irena said.