World Economic Forum and Irena sign agreement to push green-energy agenda

Coronavirus pandemic risks derailing progress in addressing the world’s energy challenges, WEF says

 Francesco La Camera, director-general of the International Renewable Energy Agency. Victor Besa/The National
 Francesco La Camera, director-general of the International Renewable Energy Agency. Victor Besa/The National

The World Economic Forum and the Abu Dhabi-based International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) signed an agreement to collaborate on pushing the green energy agenda through improving access to finance, technology and developing policy frameworks.

“The Forum and Irena have worked together for several years to support the energy transition,” said Roberto Bocca, head of shaping the future of energy and materials at the World Economic Forum.

“This [agreement] strengthens the collaboration between our organisations to further accelerate and shape the trajectory of the energy transition ensuring it is sustainable, inclusive and supports the economic recovery following Covid-19.”

While movement restrictions have caused a temporary fall in carbon dioxide emissions, the pandemic risks derailing recent progress in addressing the world’s energy challenges, according to the WEF.

“The energy transformation is at the heart of economic recovery,” Irena's director general Francesco La Camera said.

Renewable energy offers a way to achieve carbon neutrality by the middle of the century, offering the chance to align short-term policy and investment decisions with the UN's 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement pledge to limit the rise in temperatures caused by climate change.

"This reinforced partnership combines Irena's leading expertise on energy transition with the Forum’s proven record of success in driving change through public-private dialogue in pursuit of a global energy system that is fit for the future,” Mr La Camera added.

The current state of the sector is described in the World Economic Forum’s Energy Transition Index 2020. It benchmarks the energy systems of 115 economies, highlighting the leading players in the race to net-zero emissions, as well as those with work to do.

Sweden topped the overall ranking for the third consecutive year as the country most ready to transition to clean energy, followed by Switzerland and Finland. The UK and France are the only two G20 economies in the top 10.

“Countries need to significantly raise their level of commitment towards environmental sustainability, leveraging diverse policies, technologies and financing options,” Borge Brende, president of the World Economic Forum, said.

Earlier this week, the International Energy Agency and the Business 20, which represents the business community in the Group of 20 (G20), the world's largest economies, called on countries to accelerate clean energy transitions.

Their call to action follows a record decline in energy demand and emissions, induced by the mobility restrictions as a result of the pandemic.

The IEA estimates global carbon dioxide emissions are expected to be 8 per cent lower this year than in 2019, largely due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the health crisis, which has forced governments to allocate resources towards priority sectors, also threatens to derail energy investments, with funding for energy transition expected to slump 20 per cent this year.

Updated: September 23, 2020 07:45 PM


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