World currently depends on 25 per cent of low-emission sources for its energy requirements
Energy supply from low-emission renewable energy sources such as nuclear, thermal and hydroelectric power plants should double by 2030 for the world to reach its net-zero emission target by 2050, according to a new report.
Only 25 members of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) maintain a specialised observation network for energy-related services, stated the WMO State of Climate Services report released October 11, 2022.
Only 18 members provide observational and simulated data derived from other public, private and academic sources, it added.
The WMO report has been released every year since 2019. This time, it focussed solely on energy since the sector accounts for nearly three-quarters of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.
The world currently depends on 25 per cent of low-emission sources for its energy requirements. Doubling it, as indicated by the report, will increase it to 50 per cent by 2030.
In order to make this happen, the annual investment in the global energy system has to triple to $5 trillion from $2 trillion, said a research by the Climate Policy Initiative.
“We urgently need to respond to the growing impact of climate change on energy systems if we are to maintain energy security while accelerating the transition to net-zero emission targets,” said Fatih Birol, International Energy Agency’s executive director.
This requires long-term planning and bold policy action to spur investment, which in turn needs to be underpinned by comprehensive and reliable weather and climate data, he added.
“Now is the time to accelerate the transition to a renewable energy future. Anything short of radical and immediate action will ultimately eliminate the chance of staying on the 1.5°C path,” said Francesco La Camera, International Renewable Energy Agency’s director-general.
The intertwined energy and climate crises have dramatically exposed the weaknesses and vulnerabilities of an economic system heavily reliant on fossil fuels, he added.
He said advancing the transition to renewables is a strategic choice to bring affordable energy, jobs, economic growth and a resilient environment to the people and communities on the ground.
“Only 2 per cent of clean energy investment in the last two decades was made in Africa. Bringing access to modern energy for all Africans calls for an investment of $ 25 billion annually, which is around 1 per cent of global energy investment today,” the WMO stated.
Energy security was not a top priority for countries. Only 40 per cent of nationally determined contributions to mitigate climate change prioritised adaptation, the report stated.
“Climate adaptation-focused investments in the energy sector remain very low, at just over $300 million,” the report read.
Total renewable energy pledges in all Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) to mitigate climate change accounted for 3.7 terawatts (TW) of energy. However, only 56 per cent of NDCs quantified renewable power targets.
“The pathway to reach the Paris Agreement’s long-term global goal on mitigating global warming requires 7.1 TW of clean energy capacity to be installed by 2030,” the report read. This represents a 70 per cent gap in the amount of emission reduction needed by 2030.
The World Meteorological Organization provides climate services such as educating stakeholders on climate science and early warning systems. The report found that less than 50 per cent of the WMO members offer climate services to the energy sector.
The transition to clean energy can only be done through improving risk assessments due to climate change, as renewable energy services vary according to local weather.
The report quoted the example of the heatwave in Bueno Aires that caused power outages in January 2022 and the rain that damaged power lines in the Far East of the Russian Federation. Thousands of people suffered without electricity during these events.
“Risk assessments addressing planning and early warning of adverse events affecting energy supply and demand can help populations to anticipate, absorb, accommodate and recover from adverse impacts,” the report stated.
“Time is not on our side and our climate is changing before our eyes. We need a complete transformation of the global energy system,” said WMO secretary-general Petteri Taalas.
We are a voice to you; you have been a support to us. Together we build journalism that is independent, credible and fearless. You can further help us by making a donation. This will mean a lot for our ability to bring you news, perspectives and analysis from the ground so that we can make change together.
Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.