With the Paris Agreement celebrating its fifth anniversary this week, all eyes are on the world’s governments to urgently scale-up climate action. In a renewed call to action, over 100 leading renewable energy players, as members of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Coalition for Action, urge governments to correct course. By placing a renewables-based energy transition at the heart of an economic recovery from COVID-19, governments can foster economic resilience and secure a climate-safe future.
Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, governments have demonstrated their capacity to mobilize efforts and recovery packages at historically unprecedented levels. While some countries have announced more ambitious climate commitments as part of their measures to achieve sustainable and resilient economies post-COVID-19, many others have yet to take decisive actions to move towards a green recovery.
To date, G20 countries have committed at least US$233 billion in supporting the fossil fuel sector and fossil fuel-dependent industries. These billions represent a missed opportunity to accelerate the energy transition and to power long-term job creation and investment opportunities at a time when we need them most.
The IRENA’s post-COVID-19 recovery agenda shows that investments strategically targeted at renewables can put the world on a climate safe path and generate wider socio-economic benefits. Every million dollars (US$) invested in renewables would create three times more jobs than in fossil fuels.
“In the shipping industry, COVID-19 has given us reason to urgently re-evaluate our pathway forward towards full decarbonization and to facilitate a sustainable, resilient recovery. A wind propulsion and renewable energy derived fuel mix can deliver that, but that requires policies which shift our focus towards all forms of renewable energy for propulsion, enabling us to deploy the remaining depleted carbon budget to generate a swift, workable, economically regenerative transition of shipping within a 1.5C constrained future” says Gavin Allwright, the International Windship Association’s Secretary General.
The Coalition for Action now urges governments to reset their recovery priorities through the following six actions:
- Re-evaluate stimulus measures and correct course to ensure a green recovery in line with global climate objectives.
- Raise policy ambitions and clarify long-term plans for renewable generation and consumption, both centralized and decentralized.
- Ensure energy markets can deliver continuity and stimulate investment and growth in renewables.
- Prioritize renewable energy as a key component of industrial policies.
- Align labor and education policies with a just energy transition.
- Intensify international co-operation and action on COVID-19 while recognizing renewable energy as a key part of the solution.