Posted on 13 April 2011.
While UN climate negotiations show no sign of significant progress, calculations from the European Wind Energy Association show that wind energy is achieving over a quarter of the emissions reductions required under the current Kyoto agreement.
The recent UN climate negotiations in Bangkok “produced little more than the agenda for further negotiations,” according to the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA).
“Discussions continue to focus around the legal form of a new treaty,” explains Remi Gruet, EWEA regulatory affairs officer, “ignoring the key issue of how the international community will achieve the CO2 emissions reductions needed to prevent catastrophic climate change.”
He continues: “An international agreement remains absolutely vital but it’s clear that while there’s an impasse in the negotiations, many countries around the globe are getting on with avoiding CO2 emissions by installing wind energy and other renewable energy sources.”
EWEA calculations show that at the end of 2010, wind energy across the world avoided 255 Mt of CO2, equivalent to 26% of the emissions reductions commitment of industrialised countries under the Kyoto Protocol. By 2020, wind power should avoid between 46% and 69% of the pledges made in the Cancun agreement, depending on whether pledges are met to the full or the minimum.
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Posted on 11 April 2011.
The International Energy Agency has released its first Clean Energy Progress Report, which assesses global deployment of clean energy technologies and provides recommendations to countries on future action and spending. The report finds that while impressive progress has been made in developing clean energy technologies in recent years, the success stories are being overshadowed by surging demand for fossil fuels, which are outstripping deployment of clean energy technologies.
Coal has met 47% of the global new electricity demand over the past decade, eclipsing clean energy efforts made over the same period of time, which include improved implementation of energy efficiency measures and rapid growth in the use of renewable energy sources.
In order to change this status quo, the IEA argues that more aggressive clean energy policies are required, including the removal of fossil fuel subsidies and the implementation of transparent, predictable and adaptive incentives for cleaner energy options.
“Despite countries’ best efforts, the world is coming ever closer to missing targets that we believe are essential for meeting the goal agreed in Cancun to limit the growth in global average temperatures to less than 2 degrees Celsius,” points out Richard Jones, deputy executive director of the International Energy Agency. “A number of countries have shown that achieving rapid transition to cleaner technologies is possible, and can be done from the bottom up. We must see more ambitious, effective policies that respond to market signals while providing long-term, predictable support.”
Despite the persistent use of coal, the report notes that policy support over the last decade has led to a positive rise in renewable energy. The report cites solar and wind power as two areas where remarkable developments have been made.
In the case of solar energy, at least ten countries now have sizeable domestic markets, up from just three in 2000. Wind power also experienced dramatic growth over the last decade; global installed capacity at the end of 2010 was around 194 Gigawatts, more than ten times the 17 Gigawatts that were in place at the end of the year in 2000.
Despite this, and other progress with renewable sources of energy, the report states that worldwide renewable electricity generation since 1990 grew an average of 2.7% per year, which is less than the 3% growth seen for total electricity generation. Consequently, achieving the goal of halving global energy-related CO2 emissions by 2050 will require a doubling of all renewable generation use by 2020 from today’s level.
Posted in Featured News, News
Posted on 30 November 2010.
The European Commission says that this week’s UN climate change conference in Cancun (Mexico) should work towards a legally binding agreement. Key parts of the current agreement on climate change, known as the Kyoto Protocol, expire after 2012 and there is also need for urgent action on the ground.
Last year’s international agreement at Copenhagen recognised the need to keep global temperatures below 2 C pre-industrial levels but several large countries are still reluctant to sign up to a binding framework.
The EU, the world’s leading aid donor, will give a full report in Cancun on its delivery of ‘fast start’ funding to support developing countries. Support to developing countries’ efforts to stop climate change is a key part of negotiations.
In 2010 the EU mobilised ‘fast start’ funding of Eur2.2 billion. This forms part of the EU’s overall commitment made last year to provide Eur7.2 billion over the period 2010-2012.
“The EU is ready to agree on an ambitious global climate framework in Cancun but regrettably some other major economies are not. Cancun can nevertheless take the world a significant step forward by agreeing on a balanced set of decisions covering many key issues,” explains Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action. “It is crucial that Cancun delivers this progress, otherwise the UN climate change process risks losing momentum and relevance, and so far no one has been able to point to an alternative forum that can deliver more. Therefore Cancun must deliver progress on substance, and it can, if all parties show political will.”
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