IRENA Roadmap Calls for Six-Fold Increase in Renewable Energy
20 April 2018 | Mitigation
The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has released a roadmap for the global energy transformation. The roadmap shows that the adoption of renewable energy must increase dramatically to achieve the target of limiting global temperature increase to well below 2°C.
The global transition towards renewable energy has accelerated significantly in past years, but according to the report the current speed is not high enough to ensure that global temperatures will stay well below 2°C relative to pre-industrial levels. IRENA’s report titled, ‘Global Energy Transformation: A Roadmap to 2050,’ finds that global investments in renewable energy supply and energy efficiency must increase by at least 30% by 2050. In addition to achieving climate targets, these investments would create 11 million jobs, more than enough to offset job losses in the fossil fuel industry, and avoid creating US$11 trillion in stranded energy assets by 2050.
With current policy commitments, the remaining carbon budget would run out in less than 20 years.
The report analyzes the impacts of current trends in carbon emissions in the energy sector, finding that emissions are not yet on track to achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement on climate change. With current policy commitments, the remaining carbon budget would run out in less than 20 years. These trends are contrasted with a roadmap of increased investments in renewable energy supply and energy efficiency. According to the study, these combined efforts could achieve up to 90% of the energy-related emissions reductions required by 2050.
The roadmap requires the share of total final energy consumption to rise from 18% today to approximately two thirds by 2050. The share of renewables in the power sector would have to increase from 25% today to 85% in 2050. In addition, the direct use of renewable energy must increase in the transport and heating sectors to displace fossil fuels. Overall, the current rate of renewable energy adoption must increase six-fold.
IRENA identifies six policy areas to achieve these shifts: tapping into synergies between energy efficiency and renewable energy; increasing the share of renewables in the power sector; electrifying the transport and heating sectors; supporting system-wide innovation; aligning socio-economic structures and investment with the transition; and ensuring the transition costs and benefits are fairly distributed.