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IRENA renews call to cut CO2, deploy renewables

Agency says CO2 emissions must fall by up to 70% from 2010 levels.

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Adnan Z. Amin, IRENA director general.
Adnan Z. Amin, IRENA director general.

The Abu Dhabi-based International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has renewed its call for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to limit global temperature increase and avert catastrophic climate change.

Specifically, the agency called for renewable energy adoption to be accelerated in order to reduce global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 40-70 percent compared with 2010 by 2050. Renewable energy, IRENA contends, is the economically viable and technologically proven option to keep CO2 levels below the widely accepted threshhold of 450 parts per million (ppm).

“The latest report by the IPCC reconfirms that averting catastrophic climate change is possible if we act now. But we need to act decisively. Renewable energy, in combination with energy efficiency, provides the most affordable and technologically mature path to bring about the necessary change,” Adnan Z. Amin, IRENA’s Director-General, said at the opening of the World Green Economy Summit in Dubai.

“The accelerated deployment of renewable energy significantly reduces energy-related carbon dioxide emissions at a reasonable cost, and also provides other benefits, including enhanced energy security, more local jobs and value-creation, and a cleaner and healthier environment.”

Currently, the level of CO2 in the atmosphere is 398 ppm according to IRENA. Preventing a buildup beyond 450ppm will keep temperature rises to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels by 2100, this week’s statement says.

According to projections, energy-related CO2 emissions will rise from 30 gigatonnes (Gt) in 2010 to 41.4 Gt in 2030. The IRENA global roadmap for a transition to a sustainable energy future, ‘REmap 2030’, due to be published in May, shows that renewable energy can reduce emissions by 8.6 Gt to an estimated 32.8 Gt in 2030.

Based on numbers from the International Energy Agency, energy efficiency can yield an additional 7.3 Gt reduction, resulting in global energy-related CO2 emissions of 25.5 Gt by 2030. In addition to improvements in energy efficiency, this path would include a quadrupling of the share of modern renewable energy sources in the global energy mix by 2030.

Investments in renewable energy could create an additional 11 million jobs globally by 2030, according to IRENA’s statement issued this week.

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