Current clean energy efforts fall short of climate goals, report says

Energy transition moving quicker than expected but needs to 'move faster still', International Energy Agency's Fatih Birol says

Wind turbines near Heide, northern Germany. Annual renewable power capacity must add an average of 1,000 gigawatts annually by 2030 to meet Paris Agreement goals. AFP
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Current clean energy efforts are falling short of meeting global climate goals due to insufficient investment and deployment, a report has shown.

The International Energy Agency, the International Renewable Energy Agency and the UN Climate Change High-Level Champions released the Breakthrough Agenda Report on Thursday.

The report called on governments to “strengthen” collaboration in key areas such as standards and regulation, financial and technical assistance, and market creation to “turbocharge” the energy transition.

“The energy transition is moving quicker than many people think, but it needs to move faster still. Our analysis shows that while some sectors are seeing stronger international collaboration, others are falling behind,” said Fatih Birol, the IEA’s executive director.

“No country can tackle the climate and energy challenges we face in isolation. Working together is the only way we can deliver a smooth transition for everyone.”

While progress has been made in expanding financial assistance to developing countries in some sectors, “much more” progress is needed in aligning policies to create demand for clean technologies, the report found.

The organisations also said that greater political commitment is required to advance to “harder” forms of collaboration such as alignment of standards and policies.

“We must urgently overcome the systemic barriers across infrastructure, policy and institutional capabilities. And we must realign the way in which international co-operation works,” said Francesco La Camera, director general of Irena.

“A well-targeted international co-operation can determine whether we meet our collective promise to secure a climate-safe existence,” Mr La Camera said.

Annual renewable power capacity must add an average of 1,000 gigawatts annually by 2030 to meet Paris Agreement goals, according to Irena.

Although global renewable capacity in the power sector grew by a record 300 gigawatts last year, the gap between actual progress and the development required to achieve long-term climate goals has continued to grow, the Abu Dhabi-based agency said in its World Energy Transitions Outlook 2023 in June.


While there has been “unprecedented” expansion in technologies such as solar PV and electric vehicles over the past year, hard-to-abate sectors such as steel, hydrogen and agriculture are not transitioning “quickly enough”, the latest report found.

“It is clear that without international co-operation that includes civil society, businesses and local actors as well as national governments, the goal of limiting temperature rise to 1.5°C cannot be achieved,” said Razan Al Mubarak, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for Cop28.

About 200 countries are expected to meet at this year’s Cop28 climate summit, where delegates will assess how far off track they are from meeting climate commitments required to stop global warming. The process is called the global stocktake.

Meanwhile, investment in renewable energy needs to double to more than $4 trillion by the end of the decade to meet net-zero emissions targets by 2050, the IEA said in its World Energy Outlook last year.

The IEA’s stated policies scenario, which is based on the latest policy settings worldwide, expects clean energy investment to rise to slightly more than $2 trillion by 2030.

Updated: September 14, 2023, 8:12 AM