The arguments for a clean energy transition are clear, and at this critical turning point for our planet, there is no time to waste.
We are at a critical moment for the future of our planet. Temperatures are rising, storms are raging and crops are failing across the world.
Accelerating the transition to renewable energy sources is a key part of the challenge. Currently, despite the rapidly falling cost of renewables so that they are cheaper than coal and gas in most countries, over 50 countries are still planning new coal plants.
To meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and Carbon Tracker, the global transition to clean power needs to be four to six times faster than at present and coal power phase out needs to increase threefold, with on average one coal unit closing every day until 2040.
The UK is bringing state and non-state stakeholders, together to ensure that every country can access the investment and assistance needed to scale up renewable energy more rapidly.
Developing countries often face barriers in expanding their renewable energy capacity, such as high capital costs, difficulty accessing finance, and lack of support with the technical aspects of the transition to clean power.
That’s why, alongside leaders in the politics, finance and technology of the global power sector, we’ve launched the COP26 Energy Transition Council.
The UK COP26 President, Alok Sharma, will chair the council alongside the co-chair Damilola Ogunbiyi, the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative for Sustainable Energy. The Council will harness multilateral convening power and sector expertise to drive forward a transition to clean energy in developing countries.
Additionally, the UK is putting £50 million of international climate finance investment into a new Clean Energy Innovation Facility (CEIF). This money will accelerate innovative clean energy technologies such as energy storage in developing countries.
Speeding up the move to renewables isn’t just good for the environment, it’s good for jobs and growth too. Both solar and wind power costs fell by 13% in 2018 – and soon it will be cheaper in all countries to install new renewable capacity than to continue to run existing coal plants.
The arguments for a clean energy transition are clear. By ending the use of polluting coal power and speeding up the move to renewables, we can both reduce emissions and support a green and resilient economic recovery. At this critical turning point for our planet, there is no time to waste.