Irena tells re­gion to spend more on cli­mate

The National - News - - NEWS | EMIRATES - JOHN DEN­NEHY

Gov­ern­ments across the Mid­dle East must in­crease spend­ing on re­new­able en­ergy to mit­i­gate the de­struc­tive ef­fects of cli­mate change, a new re­port has found.

The In­ter­na­tional Re­new­able En­ergy Agency said up to $148 bil­lion (Dh543bn) was needed each year un­til 2050 to meet the goals of the Paris agree­ment and limit global tem­per­a­ture in­creases to 1.5°C above pre-in­dus­trial lev­els.

Ex­perts said while some of this fig­ure was al­ready be­ing in­vested in re­new­ables, more money was re­quired.

They ar­gued that not only were new re­new­able en­ergy power sta­tions re­quired but that ex­ist­ing grid sys­tems also needed mod­ernising.

“It is not just about re­new­able projects,” said El­iz­a­beth Press, au­thor of the re­port. “It is about en­ergy ef­fi­ciency, in­fra­struc­ture and the grid.”

Un­der the 2015 Paris deal, sig­na­to­ries agreed to cut green­house gas emis­sions by 45 per cent over the next decade and reach net zero emis­sions by 2050.

Sci­en­tists have said that the world faces in­creases far above 1.5°C within 10 years should coun­tries fail to act.

“It ab­so­lutely can be done,” Ms Press said. “Aware­ness is grow­ing. The UAE is a fab­u­lous ex­am­ple and the oth­ers are catch­ing on.”

GCC coun­tries spent just $1bn in­vest­ing in re­new­able en­ergy in 2018 – il­lus­trat­ing the huge scale of the chal­lenge.

Glob­ally, $3.2 tril­lion must be spent ev­ery year un­til 2050 to achieve the tran­si­tion, Irena has said.

Yes­ter­day, rep­re­sen­ta­tives from more than 120 coun­tries gath­ered in Abu Dhabi for Irena’s coun­cil meet­ing.

“Today, the ques­tion is no longer whether the en­ergy tran­si­tion is pos­si­ble,” said the agency’s di­rec­tor gen­eral, Francesco La Cam­era.

“With re­new­ables, it is pos­si­ble to mit­i­gate cli­mate change – to en­hance air qual­ity, to im­prove hu­man health and to cre­ate ac­cess to af­ford­able en­ergy.”

Re­new­able en­ergy ac­counts for about 25 per cent of the world’s elec­tric­ity.

The UAE gen­er­ates less than five per cent of its elec­tric­ity through re­new­ables with most com­ing from so­lar parks in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

The Noor so­lar plant opened in Swei­han this year and by 2050, the UAE wants 44 per cent of power gen­er­a­tion to come from clean en­ergy.

“We all know that trans­form­ing the global en­ergy sys­tems is dif­fi­cult,” Mr La Cam­era said.

“But we also know it is pos­si­ble. It is pos­si­ble be­cause there is a grow­ing po­lit­i­cal will and pub­lic sup­port to change.”

Next month, the world’s gov­ern­ments will meet in Spain to dis­cuss the cli­mate emer­gency. The event from De­cem­ber 2 to 13 was sched­uled to take place in Chile but will now take place in Madrid be­cause of so­cial un­rest.

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