Collaboration is critical in the energy transition

Nicknamed “Doomsday Glacier”, Antarctica hardly clings to the rock. If it continues to melt at its current rate and collapses into the ocean – which climate scientists suggest is imminent – global sea levels could rise by 65 centimeters (more than two feet). Such an event could have devastating repercussions that put coastal communities at immediate risk.

But we can still work to help strengthen the grip of the Thwaites Glacier on the Antarctic mainland. To do this, we must strengthen our grip on climate commitments and turn them into purposeful action.

Transforming climate change must start with raising ambition and investment in earnest. Right now, as we approach Cop27, climate commitments unsupported by action and investment plans amount to mere raindrops in a rapidly warming ocean. Without a stronger collective resolve to invest in climate mitigation, adaptation and resilience measures, we are walking a knee-deep sleep in a rapidly warming ocean without a life jacket.

To improve our chances of not only surviving but thriving in the future, we must take a pragmatic, orderly and comprehensive approach to the economy. This requires investments that scale the deployment of renewables beyond energy, integrating them into end-use and high-emission industrial sectors by utilizing pioneering innovative solutions such as green hydrogen. Investments must also ensure energy security to maintain uninterrupted access to energy around the world, especially at this critical time.

The UAE has invested more than $50 billion in renewable energy projects in 70 countries

We are moving in the right direction. In 2021, more than $365 billion was invested in renewable energy solutions. Furthermore, renewables accounted for more than 80 percent of the total new power generation capacity last year. But we are not moving fast enough. Renewables still make up only 4 percent of the total energy mix today.

To achieve sustainable development and economic growth and avoid an almost certain climate catastrophe, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) predicts that the world must invest $5.7 trillion annually until 2030.

This includes annual investments of at least $1 trillion in renewable energy, and $130 billion in hydrogen through 2030, according to a landmark report published jointly by IRENA with the International Energy Agency (IEA) and 45 governments including the G7, China and India. – which makes up 70 percent of the global economy.

This level of investment is based on the need to create up to 8 TWh of additional renewable energy by 2030 – up from 3 TWh online in 2021 – which the report says will help reduce global emissions in five key sectors – energy, hydrogen and road transport. steel and agriculture.

The UAE remains committed to playing its part in helping to drive the energy transition – both at home and abroad. So far, after more than two decades of continuous investment in renewable energy infrastructure, the UAE is now home to three of the world’s least expensive solar power plants. Abroad, the UAE has invested more than $50 billion in renewable energy projects in 70 countries and plans to invest an additional $50 billion over the next decade.

The UAE is also a leading advocate for the international partnerships that are essential to meeting this common global challenge. Multilateralism is key to this ecosystem. And we have reason to believe that such an ecosystem is beginning to emerge.

In October last year, at the G20 summit in Rome, and ahead of the COP26 conference in Glasgow, G20 leaders pledged to reach net zero emissions by mid-century. This was the first time that such a deal had been struck among all G20 member states. Now is not the time to waive these commitments.

G20 leaders in front of the Trevi Fountain during an event for the G20 summit in Rome, on October 31, 2021. AP

In yet another successful bid paving the way forward for these commitments, IRENA co-hosted the first investment forum on energy transitions in partnership with Indonesia’s G20 Presidency. Together, they signed the Bali Declaration, and announced the formation of the Alliance for Decarbonizing Industry.

First, the Bali Declaration provides a framework for accelerating energy transitions through three main priorities: securing energy access, scaling up clean technologies, and promoting clean energy financing. The three areas require urgent attention from all global players. Second, the Global Alliance for Industrial Decarbonization aims to raise net-zero ambitions and accelerate decarbonization of industrial value chains by supporting businesses and promoting green manufacturing while reducing industry emissions.

The formation of this new alliance could not have been a more appropriate time. Industry is responsible for 28 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Success requires mutually beneficial partnerships built on a shared conviction that urgent action is required for industrial stakeholders to address the challenges and opportunities in the transition to clean energy. The Irena multi-stakeholder platform aims to do exactly that, and if we are to mobilize the funds needed to power the energy transition, collaboration is critical. And if we really want to mitigate the deepest impacts of climate change, we must now all get ahead.

Published: September 22, 2022, 4:00 AM

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