IRENA’s World Energy Transitions Outlook 2023: Redefining the 1.5 degrees Celsius climate pathway
The International Renewable Energy Agency [IRENA] has outlined the critical steps needed to steer the world back on track towards the 1.5 degrees Celsius climate pathway in its first volume of the World Energy Transitions Outlook [WETO] 2023.
According to the report, while progress has been made particularly in the power sector, with a record 300 gigawatts [GW] of renewable capacity added globally in 2022, the gap between achievements and requirements continues to widen. To bridge this gap, IRENA stresses the need for more ambitious renewable energy targets, calling for the addition of an average of 1,000 GW of renewable power capacity annually by 2030, as well as a significant increase in the direct utilisation of renewables in end-use sectors.
WETO 2023 highlights the urgency of raising global ambition in renewable energy deployment and emphasises the crucial role of electrification and efficiency in driving the transition.
IRENA’s Director-General, Francesco La Camera, underlines the critical importance of renewable energy as the centrepiece of the solution, leading countries towards energy security, reduced costs, and forward-looking industrial development. La Camera asserts that the energy transition must be a strategic tool to foster a more equitable and inclusive world, emphasising the need for COP28 and the Global Stocktake to provide a blueprint for redirecting efforts back on track towards the 1.5 degrees celsius pathway.
In response to the report, H.E. Dr Sultan al-Jaber, the President-Designate of COP28, supports IRENA’s recommendations and advocates for a tripling of renewable energy by 2030, in line with the WETO report. Al-Jaber emphasises the importance of phasing up zero-carbon alternatives while ensuring energy security and urges the creation of necessary frameworks, accessible financing, and expedited grid infrastructure expansions. Al-Jaber recently reaffirmed a shared commitment with the EU to triple renewable energy by 2030 and announced Kenya’s role in championing the drive fr renewable energy capacity expansion in Africa.
The WETO report also highlights the structural barriers hindering progress in the energy transition, including the lack of physical infrastructure, absence of enabling policies and regulations, and misalignments in skills and institutional capacity. Addressing these barriers, along with rewriting international cooperation, is crucial to accelerate the transition and ensure a just energy transition that leaves no one behind.
IRENA actively collaborates with countries to develop and implement renewable energy policies aligned with the 1.5 degrees celsius Pathway outlined in WETO. The agency offers technical assistance and capacity building to support countries in increasing the share of renewables in their energy mix.
As COP28 approaches, the WETO report serves as a vital resource, providing analyses and a roadmap for building coalitions that deliver comprehensive support across the renewables ecosystem. By taking immediate action, the world can triple its renewable energy capacity, restore the 1.5 degrees celsius climate pathway, and create a sustainable future for all.