Momentum in climate change fight continues without USA


A booming global renewable industry and leadership outside of the US administration ensures that the momentum seen-to-date will continue, according to the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21).
The US pulled out from the Paris Accord, an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) dealing with greenhouse gas emissions mitigations, adaptation and finance that was one of the major milestones when it comes to fighting climate change. Although that might leave a gap when it comes to financing, according to REN21, the international and business communities have been preparing for this possibility and have filled the leadership position vacated by President Trump.
In a statement sent to Capital, REN21 underlined that while it is disappointing that the US has withdrawn other major economies such as France, Germany, Italy, Canada, Japan and the UK, have all underlined their commitment to the Paris Agreement. Recently India and China also signaled their dedication.
“The world is in a race against time. The single most important thing we could do to reduce CO2 emissions quickly and cost-effectively, is phase-out coal and speed up investments in energy efficiency and renewables. President’ Trump’s withdrawal of the US from the Paris Agreement is unfortunate. But the renewables train has already left the station and those who ignore renewables’ central role in climate mitigation risk being left behind,” Christine Lins, Executive Secretary of REN21 said.
According to the statement, for the fifth consecutive year, investment in new renewable power capacity, including all hydropower, was roughly double the investment in fossil fuel generating capacity, reaching USD 249.8 billion.
“Costs of some renewable technologies are coming down quickly, particularly in the power sector. Innovations in solar PV manufacturing and installation, improvements in wind turbine materials and designs, and advances in thermal energy storage for CSP – to name a few – have contributed to overall cost reductions. In many countries, renewables are now cost-competitive with new fossil fuel and nuclear sources,” the statement underlines.
Throughout 2016, the number of cities across the globe committed to transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy – in total energy use or in the electricity sector – continued to grow, and some cities and communities already have succeeded in this goal.
Under the Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy, more than 7,200 communities with a combined population of 225 million people are committed to reducing emissions 40 percent by 2030, by increasing energy efficiency and renewable energy deployment. At the climate conference in Marrakesh, Morocco in November 2016, the leaders of 48 developing nations committed to work towards achieving 100 percent renewable energy supply in their respective nations, among them is Ethiopia.