Leaders from a wide range of sectors came together on Friday at Energy Day at the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn to announce a new set of initiatives to transition to renewable energy and to show that more ambitious clean energy development can quickly become a bigger part of national climate plans submitted under the Paris Climate Change Agreement.

“With the price of renewable and storage technologies tumbling, and greater understanding on how to set the policy table for a cleaner energy mix and more integrated energy planning, the question before decision makers is, why wait?” said Rachel Kyte, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and CEO, Sustainable Energy for All.

Success stories, action and new commitments shared during Energy Day at the COP23 UN Climate Change Conference from businesses, states, cities and forward-thinking countries continue to show ambition to ensure the clean energy transition is not only underway but is irreversible.

“Our pledge to leave no one behind is a critical component of the Paris Agreement. The energy transition that we can see is underway and must be a transition towards energy systems around the world that secure sustainable energy for all,” said Ms Kyte.

“This means placing energy efficiency first, adopting a laser like focus on ending energy poverty and using the renewable energy revolution to achieve universal access and a bending of the emissions curve. With each year, each COP, the health and economic impacts of carbon pollution are better documented and the science of what awaits us, if we continue on our current path, mounts,” she said.

Adnan Z. Amin, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Director-General said: “Two-thirds of global greenhouse gas emissions stem from energy production and use, which puts the energy sector front and centre of global efforts to combat climate change. Our analysis shows that renewables and energy efficiency can together provide over 90 per cent of the mitigation needed in the energy system by 2050 to achieve the ambitions of the Paris Agreement, while also boosting the economy, creating jobs and improving human health and well-being.”

“We have a large, untapped, and affordable renewable energy potential waiting to be developed. Revising the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) gives countries an opportunity to take a fresh look at how to harvest this potential, not only for mitigation, but in light of the multiple socio-economic benefits of renewables, also for adaptation,” said Mr Amin.

Fatih Birol, International Energy Agency (IEA) Executive Director, said: “The transition of the energy sector in the next decades will be critical to meeting shared climate and sustainable development goals. Widespread action by governments and private sector alike has helped keep global energy-related emissions flat the last three years. Our analysis shows we can meet climate goals while achieving energy access and improving the environment.”

The central goal of the Paris Agreement is to keep the average global temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius and as close as possible to 1.5 degrees. About one degree of that rise has already happened, underlining the urgency to progress much further and faster with the global clean energy transformation.

Energy Day is organized by The Climate Group, IEA, IRENA and Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) as part of a series of thematic action days held under the auspices of the Marrakech Partnership.

Key announcements from the day include:

IRENA releases a new report, ‘Untapped Potential for Climate Action: Renewable Energy in Nationally Determined Contributions,’ which finds that the renewable energy components of current national climate plans (NDCs) lag behind actual deployment trends, national energy targets and the cost-effective potential for accelerated deployment. The report suggests there is substantial scope for countries to cost-effectively increase the renewable energy ambitions set forth in their NDCs so that they are aligned with the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement.

The Climate Group announces new members to its recently launched EV100 campaign, a major new global electric transport initiative designed to make electric vehicles “the new normal.” The campaign is designed to utilize global business buying power to fast-track the roll-out of electric vehicles and infrastructure and address rising global transport emissions.

13 countries and the International Energy Agency announced on November 7 the launch of the “IEA Clean Energy Transitions Programme,” a new multi-year, EUR 30 million plan to support clean energy transitions around the world. Backed by IEA Member Countries committed to promoting the development of clean energy, this new programme will leverage the IEA’s unique energy expertise across all fuels and technologies to help accelerate global clean-energy transitions, particularly in major emerging economies.

The day consists of four sessions, covering: the state of the energy transition; policies needed to enable change; experiences of leaders around the world who are catalyzing action; and recommendations for accelerating progress.

Background

Energy Day, organized by the Climate Group, the International Chamber of Commerce, the International Energy Agency (IEA), the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) as part of a series of thematic action days held under the auspices of the Marrakech Partnership.

The Marrakech Partnership aims at catalyzing greater climate action, including at the sub-national and corporate level, in the period from 2017-2020. Since Energy Day was launched at COP21 in Paris, CO2 emissions have remained flat, the costs of renewable energy technologies have dramatically fallen, and renewable energy deployment has generally outpaced the targets governments set for themselves in their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

Relevant background and developments since Energy Day at COP22, which participants will be speaking to:

RE100, a collaborative initiative uniting the world’s most influential businesses committed to 100% renewable power, led by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP, has now grown to 114 members. This total number of companies creates demand for over 153 TWh of renewable electricity annually – more than enough to power a country the size of Poland. Its members recognize the compelling business case for renewables and are sending a powerful signal to policymakers and investors to accelerate the transformation of energy markets, which will eventually see electric vehicles powered by renewable energy.

Energizing Finance, a new report series released earlier this year from Sustainable Energy for All and partners, showed that the current flow of finance for energy access and clean cooking will not achieve global goals for delivering universal access by 2030. Energizing Finance estimates an annual investment of $45 billion is needed to meet universal electrification, but the latest data shows that finance commitments for electricity in these 20 ‘high-impact’ countries that represent 80 percent of those without electricity access is less than half that number, averaging just $19.4 billion a year. Finance tracked for clean cooking revealed a much greater challenge.

Across the 20 countries with the largest clean cooking access gaps representing 84 percent of the global population without access, annual finance committed averaged just $32 million, compared to the estimated annual investment need of at least $4.4 billion.

With the support of a range of partners, the SIDS Lighthouses Initiative was launched in 2014, promoting a holistic approach to the transition to renewable energy on small island developing states. The Initiative today comprises 36 Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and 19 development partners. It has provided financial advisory services to implement projects in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Solomon Islands and Maldives amongst others.

Following recommendations from the initiative, Samoa is implementing necessary upgrades to make the grid more reliable with planned solar projects. The Initiative is joining forces with the new SIDS-focused initiatives including the Alliance of Small Island Developing States-led Initiative for Renewable Islands Energy launched in Marrakech, and the Fiji-led Pacific NDC Partnership. It is also broadening its focus beyond the power sector.

The Global Geothermal Alliance (GGA) initiative, launched at COP21 in Paris, is a global platform for improved dialogue, cooperation and coordinated action among policymakers, industry, and other stakeholders. As of August 2017, its constituency has expanded to include 42 countries and 29 partner institutions across the globe. The High-Level Conference of the GGA, jointly organised by the government of Italy and IRENA adopted the “Florence Declaration,” agreeing on a set of actions to significantly increase the speed of geothermal energy development around the world.

The Africa Clean Energy Corridor initiative, launched in 2014, has since almost doubled to include more than 30 governments, regional organisations, development partners and financial institutions in the Eastern and Southern Africa. Along with other activities, the initiative has provided targeted advisory services for renewable energy development in Egypt, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. Facilitated by IRENA, the model was since replicated in the West Africa and Central America, with other regions underway.

The Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (GABC) is an initiative launched at COP21, as part of the Lima Paris Action Agenda. It aims to mobilise all stakeholders, including member states and non-state actors from the Buildings and Construction sector to scale up climate actions in the sector. The GABC members established 5 work areas: Awareness and Education, Public Policies, Market Transformation, Finance, and Measurement, Data and Accountability. The GABC partners have developed a Global Status Report and a Global Roadmap for sustainable, resilient and energy efficient buildings and construction.

The Energy Efficiency in Emerging Economies (E4) programme, established in January 2014, supports the scale-up of energy efficiency activities that generate economy-wide benefits in major emerging economies. The E4 programme, initially a four-year effort, is extended an additional four years to support the implementation of energy efficiency, with a special focus on the People’s Republic of China, India, Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico, and South Africa. IEA’s E4 Training Week, a series of 5-day training events, have now brought together over 600 ‘next generation’ energy efficiency professionals to equip policy makers with knowledge and skills to be more effective in their roles.

The Electric Vehicles Initiative (EVI) is a multi-government policy forum dedicated to accelerating the introduction and adoption of electric vehicles worldwide. In 2010, EVI was one of several initiatives launched under the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM), a high-level dialogue among Energy Ministers from the world’s major economies.

Source: United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change