According to a new, multi-agency report from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the supply of electricity from clean energy sources, such as solar, wind, or hydropower, must double until the end of this decade in order to mitigate global warming. If this will not be achieved, climate change, extreme weather, and water stress may severely undermine our energy security and jeopardize renewable energy supplies.
The WMO’s report focuses on the issue of energy this year due to its major importance to international agreements on sustainable development and climate change mitigation, and ultimately, to our planet’s health.
“The energy sector is the source of around three-quarters of global greenhouse gas emissions. Switching to clean forms of energy generation, such as solar, wind, and hydropower – and improving energy efficiency – is vital if we are to thrive in the twenty-first century. Net zero by 2050 is the aim. But we will only get there if we double the supply of low-emissions electricity within the next eight years,” explained Petteri Taalas, the secretary-general of WMO. “Time is not on our side, and our climate is changing before our eyes. We need a complete transformation of the global energy system.”
According to Professor Taalas and his colleagues, access to reliable weather, water, and climate information and services is essential to strengthen the resilience of energy infrastructure and meet the currently rising demands for renewable energy sources. In the process of meeting global electricity needs with clean energy, African countries may turn out to be major players in the market, since the African continent is home to 60 percent of the best solar resources globally. Unfortunately, at the moment, it has only one percent of installed photovoltaic capacity.
“We urgently need to respond to the growing impact of climate change on energy systems if we are to maintain energy security while accelerating the transition to net-zero. This requires long-term planning and bold policy action to spur investment, which in turn needs to be underpinned by comprehensive and reliable weather and climate data,” said Fatih Birol, the executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA).
“Now is the time to accelerate the transition to a renewable energy future. Anything short of radical and immediate action will ultimately eliminate the chance of staying on the 1.5°C path. The intertwined energy and climate crises have dramatically exposed the weaknesses and vulnerabilities of an economic system heavily reliant on fossil fuels. Advancing the transition to renewables is a strategic choice to bring affordable energy, jobs, economic growth, and a resilient environment to the people and communities on the ground,” concluded Francesco La Camera, the director-general of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
The 2022 State of Climate Services: Energy report can be found here.
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