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Global Energy Transition has made Progress but Falls Short of 1.5°C Pathway: IRENA WETO 2023 Report

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Global energy transition has made progress but falls short of 1.5°C pathwayThe “World Energy Transitions: Outlook (WETO) 2023: 1.5°C Pathway” released by International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in Berlin(Germany), shows that the global energy transition is off-track, aggravated by the effects of global crises and calls for a fundamental change of course in the energy transition.

The report stated that significant progress has been made in the power sector where renewables account for 40% of installed power generation and contributes to 83% of global power additions in 2022.

  • Despite the progress, the global energy transition is still off-track and falls short of the 1.5 degrees Celsius(°C ) pathway.
  • Investment in renewables reached USD 0.5 trillion in 2022; however, this is less than one-third of the average investment needed each year in renewables under the 1.5°C Scenario.

Key Points:

i.The deployment levels must increase from around 3,000 gigawatt (GW) at present to over 10,000 GW in 2030, an average of 1,000 GW annually, to maintain the 1.5°C pathway.

  • China, the European Union (EU) and the United States of America(USA) accounted for two-thirds of all additions in 2022.

ii.In 2022, 85% of global renewable energy investment benefitted less than 50% of the world’s population. Africa accounted for only 1% of additional capacity in 2022.

iii.A total of 295 gigawatts (GW) of renewables was added worldwide in 2022, the largest-ever annual increase in renewable energy capacity.

iv.The IRENA’s Global Landscape of renewable energy finance 2023 confirmed that regions home to about 120 developing and emerging markets continue to receive comparatively little investment.

Points to note: 

i.Although global investment across all energy transition technologies reached a record high of USD 1.3 trillion in 2022, a cumulative USD 150 trillion is required to realise the 1.5°C target by 2050, averaging over USD 5 trillion annually.

ii.Existing renewable power targets would increase total renewable power capacity to 5.4 terawatts (TW) by 2030, representing less than half of the 11.2 TW needed for a 1.5°C pathway.

iii.Wayforward: To make the share of renewable energy in the world’s primary energy supply grow from 16% in 2020 to 77% in 2050 under the 1.5°C Scenario, requires an annual growth rate thirteen times the current rate.

  • The report warns about the lack of progress and calls for a strategic shift in the energy transition to sustain 1.5°C target.

Priority Pillars:

The report outlines 3 priority pillars of the energy transition, the physical infrastructure, policy and regulatory enablers and well-skilled workforce requiring significant investment and new ways of co-operation in which all actors can engage in the transition and play an optimal role.

About WETO 2023: 

i.WETO provides an energy transition pathway in line with Paris Agreement goals, limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C.

ii.It presents the pathway for limiting global temperature rise to within 1.5°C of pre-industrial levels and bringing Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to net zero by 2050.

About International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA):

IRENA is a lead global intergovernmental agency for energy transformation.

Director-General– Francesco La Camera
Membership– 167 countries and the EU.
Headquarters– Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates