BATHINDA: The G20 countries are clinging to old, polluting energy while renewables are proving to be cost-competitive, saving money for consumers, finds the new analysis by the Climate Transparency Alliance. The ‘Acceleration Call’ scorecard outlines ways in which the world’s top polluters can fast track their energy transition ahead of the UN Climate Ambition Summit during UNGA78. Climate Transparency is a global partnership in climate action in G20 members.
UN is asking countries to hit fast forward on their energy transition so that developed countries reach net zero as close as possible to 2040 and emerging economies as close as possible to 2050. The data, compiled from analysis from 17 data institutes and modelling consultants, offers recommendations on a country-by-country basisand shows that all net zero targets need to be brought forward by 10 years.
The top polluters are still failing on coal, with coal investment surging in 2022. Clean energy saved consumers $110bn 2021-2023. The UK, US, EU, Australia and Canada are among the countries and regions that should adopt a 2040 net zero target, while Saudi Arabia, China, India and Indonesia should aim for the 2050, the report says.Data shows countries can achieve this by kicking their coal addiction and driving investments in renewables.
Coal
Despite pledges, G20 coal investments made between 2020 and 2022 are undermining global efforts on climate change and keeping warming within the UN-agreed 1.5C limit. Coal consumption in the G20 grew, on average, by 7.19% per year between 2020 and 2022.
The average change in coal consumption between 2010 and 2019 was only 0.37%. Global coal demand is now at an all- time high, with 8,031 Mt projected for 2024.
While the coal surge is being driven primarily by China, India, Indonesia, Russia and Turkey – the wider G20 stands accused of fueling this rise by continuing to invest in overseas fossil fuel projects, giving nearly US$17 billion per year to other countries for coal mining and coal-fired power plants.
Consumer savings in clean energy
Whilst global trends suggest the world’s top polluters are failing to back cheaper, cleaner energy sources. Worldwide, the increase in renewable capacities is estimated to have saved consumers more than $110 billion between 2021 and 2023.
Annual investments in renewable power worldwide doubled in the last decade, reaching almost $659 billion in 2023. Almost two-thirds of renewable power added in 2021 had lower costs than the cheapest coal-fired options in G20 countries.
The report says India must meet the growth in energy demand with non-fossil energy: India will see a continued growth in energy demand over the coming decades across sectors. With increasing electrification, the size of the power system is likely to increase by more than 100% between 2020 and 2030. Increasing the share of non-fossil energy in meeting this demand will be crucial for decoupling economic growth from emissions as well as avoiding stranded assets.
India must strategise to find synergies of renewable energy with other sectoral objectives: Aligning multiple sectoral objectives with the promotion of renewable energy will maximise effective utilisation of limited public finance. All the sectoral strategies, such as decarbonisation of hard-to-abate sectors, cooling action plans, increasing the share of agricultural land under irrigation must also prioritise the integration of renewable energy, channelling sectoral priorities and investments to exploit synergies.
India needs reduced cost of capital for green investments: Even the modest estimate of financing needs of India is more than USD 10 trillion, approximately three times its current GDP. Financing the transition with high cost of capital is not an attractive option as it may increase the debt burden on the economy. Partnerships through different mechanisms (multilateral, bilateral) and with different actors (financial institutions, philanthropy organisations) will help to create low-cost financing instruments (blended finance, risk guarantees) to facilitate adequate financial flows to India.
Gerd Leipold, Director of Climate Transparency said “wehave run out of time for excuses. There are none left given we have all of the solutions we need at all fingertips. It is clear coal is a dead end for the planet and we need to end its use urgently. Governments just need to get on with investing in cleaner, cheaper and greener industries and improve the lives of billions of people.”



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