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Irena and industry leaders draw roadmap to fast-track renewables

Francesco La Camera, Irena director general Irena
Francesco La Camera, director general of Irena, told a pre-Cop meeting in Dubai that the world must cut 22 gigatonnes of greenhouse gasses in the next 7 years
  • Joint report calls for 11,000GW renewables by 2030
  • Energy efficiency improvements need to double
  • Investment still too low, especially in developing countries

The energy transition away from fossil-based systems must be accelerated to keep global warming at bay, according to intergovernmental agency the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena), headquartered in Abu Dhabi.

Irena and the Cop28 presidency combined with a group of industry players – the Global Renewables Alliance (GRA) – in calling for a trebling of renewable capacity by 2030 to more than 11,000 GW.

The GRA brings together several hundred organisations and companies to advance the adoption of renewable energy.

Annual energy efficiency improvements need to double by the end of the decade, Irena, the presidency and the GRA said in a joint report launched on Monday on the sidelines of a pre-Cop28 meeting in Abu Dhabi.

Seventy ministers and 100 delegates met to lay the groundwork for negotiations at the global climate summit, which will take place at the end of the year in Dubai.

Irena director general Francesco La Camera said the world must cut 22 gigatonnes of greenhouse gasses in the next seven years to keep the 1.5°C threshold consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement within reach.

To decrease CO2 emissions by 43 percent by 2030, “we have to insist on a decrease of the use of fossil fuels,” La Camera said.

Global renewable capacity grew by a record 300 gigawatts last year, but investment is still insufficient, especially in developing countries, the report said.

Sultan Al Jaber, the Cop28 president-designate, said that trebling renewable power generation and doubling energy efficiency are among the most important levers to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

He reiterated that the phase-down of fossil fuels is essential, but must also be responsible.

Around 85 percent of global renewable energy investment benefitted less than 50 percent of the world’s population, and Sub-Saharan Africa received less than 1 percent of the global total in the past two years, Irena said.

Levelling the playing field

Bruce Douglas, CEO of the GRA, told AGBI fossil fuel subsidies should be removed to level the playing field for renewable energy.

He called for a scaling-up of renewable energy by providing low-cost financing for emerging markets for renewables.

“The cost of capital is very high [in developing countries] because of currency and country risk and inflationary pressure… To get renewables off the ground, you need some support on the low cost of capital,” Douglas said.

“To achieve clean energy targets, we need to dramatically ramp up wind power, solar power, hydropower, and geothermal power.”