‘Green Energy most credible to avoid Climate catastrophe’

NEW YORK: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a video message to the 13th Session of the Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), which is being held this weekend in Abu Dhabi, that renewable energies are “the only credible way” to avoid a climate catastrophe.
“Only renewables can safeguard our future, close the energy access gap, stabilize prices and ensure energy security,” the UN chief said, while outlining a five-point plan for a just transition. “Together, let’s jumpstart a renewables revolution and create a brighter future for all.”
The world is still addicted to fossil fuels and the goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius is fast slipping out of reach, Guterres warned.
“Under current policies, we are headed for 2.8 degrees of global warming by the end of the century. The consequences will be devastating. Several parts of our planet will be uninhabitable. And for many, this is a death sentence,” he said.
Renewable energy sources currently account for about 30 per cent of global electricity. Guterres said this must double to over 60 per cent by 2030, and 90 per cent by mid-century.
His Five-point Energy Plan first calls for removing intellectual property barriers so that key renewable technologies, including energy storage, are treated as global public goods.
Countries also must diversify and increase access to supply chains for raw materials and components for renewables technologies, without degrading the environment. “This can help create millions of green jobs, especially for women and youth in the developing world,” said Mr. Guterres. The Secretary-General urged decision makers to cut red tape, fast-track approvals for sustainable projects worldwide and modernize power grids.
His fourth point focused on energy subsidies. He stressed the need to shift from fossil fuels to clean and affordable energy, adding “we must support vulnerable groups affected by this transition.”
The final point highlighted how public and private investments in renewables should triple to at least $4 trillion dollars a year.
Noting that most investments in renewables are in developed countries, the Secretary-General urged countries to work together to reduce the capital cost for renewables and ensure that financing flows to those who need it most. Multilateral development banks must also invest massively in renewable energy infrastructure, he added, while richer nations must work with credit agencies to scale up green investments in developing countries. –Agencies