IEA: Renewables on track to overtake coal

Intro

Renewable energy is set to become the world’s number one electricity source in the next fifteen years if countries stick to the plans they are presenting in the run-up to the UN climate talks in Paris, this December, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). Renewable energy would account for one-third of electricity generation by 2030, up from one-fifth today, ahead of coal, gas and oil. Additionally, global emissions could peak by 2020 at no net cost if inefficient coal power plants and fossil fuel subsidies are eliminated, renewables investment jumps from $270 billion to $400 billion in 2030, and methane emissions are reduced, says the report. The IEA report comes as politicians, business leaders and citizens everywhere are calling for fossil fuels to be phased out in favour of a future powered by 100 per cent renewable energy, and with coal costs tumbling, companies which betted on the black stuff can barely afford to clean up their own mess. It is clearer than ever that the future is zero carbon, and that if governments and companies act now the benefits in terms of lives saved, green jobs created and investments protected will be immense.

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MT@FinancialReview #IEA says renewable power on course to overtake coal as world’s top source of electricity by 2030

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Key Points

  • Renewable energy is on track to beat coal to the number one spot. Renewable energy will become the world’s number one electricity source in the next fifteen years, if countries stick to their pre-COP21 climate plans. Renewable sources would provide nearly a third of global electricity by 2030. With renewables’ costs coming right down, their share of the power market is going up, and smart businesses are already investing in green power. Energy companies ignoring what’s happening are making a “fatal error” says the IEA’s Fatih Birol – a warning that is already being borne out in tumbling profit margins with some companies unable even to clean up their own mess.
  • Emissions could peak by 2020 if governments act on climate change. Governments’ pre-COP21 climate plans are unlikely to be enough to avoid a rise of over 2DegC by themselves, but additional measures could see emissions peak ten years ahead of current projections and give a massive boost to the COP21 climate talks in Paris, according to the new report. The IEA’s key recommendations include eliminating inefficient coal power plants and fossil fuel subsidies, increasing renewables investment and energy efficiency and reducing methane emissions.
  • The IEA check-list will help transition to the low carbon future. The IEA has given governments concrete actions which will help the transition to a green future. Such actions will respond to demand from political leaders, businesses and citizens everywhere who are calling for fossil fuels to be phased out in favour of a future powered by 100% renewable energy.

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Key Quotes

  • “[The UN conference in Paris is] the last chance to put the energy sector on the right course” – Fatih Birol, incoming executive director of the International Energy Agency
  • [On energy companies assume climate action is not going to affect their businesses] “That would be like assuming interest rates will stay the same for the next 25 years. It’s the same type of short-sightedness.” – Fatih Birol, incoming executive director of the International Energy Agency
  • “This report from the world’s energy authority clearly shows we need to seize the economic opportunities and urgently tackle climate change. The UK has been at the forefront of global efforts by driving innovation to create a thriving low-carbon economy at home and pushing for an ambitious global climate deal” – Amber Rudd, UK energy secretary
  • “We are on the threshold of a new energy era, and the IEA recognises that.  Coal will soon be history, oil will follow. But we agree with the IEA that the current pledges on carbon reduction in the run-up to the Paris conference on climate change are well short of what’s needed, if we are to keep the global temperature rise to just 2 degrees. All countries need to be more ambitious, and what’s promised now should be the minimum they deliver, not the maximum.” – Martin Kaiser, head of international climate politics at Greenpeace

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  • MT @Oikolopaidi: #IEA calls for ‘least-efficient #coal-fired power plants reduction & construction ban’. That’s 100% of current & future Greek lignite fleet