Building Enhanced Climate Ambitions with Renewable Energy

Energy sector remains the biggest contributor to global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions today, accounting for more than two-thirds of the total emissions. Therefore, transitioning to low-carbon energy sector is increasingly recognised as key to achieving carbon neutrality by mid-century and mitigating the adverse effects of climate change.

Renewables present an innovative, sustainable, and cost-effective solution to reduce GHG emissions at scale, thus helping countries to achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement. Yet, the renewable energy commitments reflected in the first round of nationally determined contributions (NDCs) submitted in 2015 would only lead to an average annual increase in renewable energy deployment of 3.6% over 2015-2030.

Before the closing of the first NDC review cycle at COP26, the Parties which have ratified the Paris Agreement had the opportunity to submit new or updated pledges. As the lead intergovernmental agency for the renewables-driven energy transition, IRENA worked closely with its global membership to put renewable energy at the heart of enhanced NDCs for COP26 in Glasgow.

A total of 72 Parties in different geographies around the world benefited from IRENA’s support on different facets of the energy transition. The number of Parties is equal to a total emission of around 3.2 billion tonnes of CO2 eq, indicating the huge potential for emission reduction in line with climate goals.

The latest submissions to the United Nations Framework Convention of Climate Change (UNFCCC) shows promising results; all of the NDCs submitted by Parties mention the energy sector as a key area for climate action, with renewable energy as a key option to decarbonise the sector. IRENA analysis found that of the total 194 NDCs, 143 mention quantified renewable energy targets; 109 consider quantified renewable energy targets in the power sector; while 31 NDCs mention quantified renewable energy targets for direct heat and/or transport sector.

Moving from ambition to action, the next important phase is ensuring that all the climate pledges made in the NDCs are implemented. IRENA will continue to offer and expand its support to its membership in enhancing and implementing their energy transition actions. The support will be strengthened through dedicated project facilitation services, as well as analytical work and capacity building that will allow Parties to create an enabling environment to drive renewable energy investment at scale.

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