How COP21 Will Unleash Massive Global Renewable Energy Growth

The latest report from the influential World Resources Institute (WRI), Assessing the Post-2020 Clean Energy Landscapeindicates that we are poised for an exponential growth in renewable energy production after the Paris COP21 climate conference.

According to the report, which analyzes the clean energy plans of eight of the top 10 carbon emitters in the world, the Paris 2015 conference could help double the current market in the next 15 years.

“These new renewable energy targets send strong signals to energy markets and investment circles,” said Jennifer Morgan, global director of the Climate Program, at World Resources Institute.

Assuming these proposed clean energy plans are achieved, total annual renewable electricity generation will increase by nearly four times between now and 2030. This increase is equivalent to all of India’s current energy demand.

Here are some key highlights:

  • China will increase the share of non-fossil fuel in primary energy consumption to around 20 percent by 2030;

  • European Union will achieve at least a 27 percent share of renewable energy consumption by 2030;

  • U.S. will increase the U.S. share of renewables—beyond hydropower—in the electricity generation mix to 20 percent by 2030.

The report also analyzed the current climate plans submitted by all the countries to the UNFCCC, the so-called INDCs. INDCs (intended nationally determined contributions) have been submitted by more than 150 countries and are expected to provide the fundamental plans for a global deal on climate change next month.

Out of the 127 INDCs submitted, 80 percent of them mentioned clean energy: 67 INDCs (53 percent) indicated clean energy targets and 35 INDCs (27 percent) committed to put forward clean energy actions.

This WRI report preceded the release of IEA's "World Energy Outlook 2015," which gives approximately similar projections but with longer targets: Renewables-based generation reaches 50 percent in the EU by 2040, around 30 percent in China and Japan and above 25 percent in the U.S. and India.

"World leaders meeting in Paris must set a clear direction for the accelerated transformation of the global energy sector." Fatih Birol, executive director, IEA.

Unfortunately, according to the IEA these INDCs and current renewables projections for emissions trajectory implies a long-term temperature increase of 2.7C by 2100. Therefore, more must be done to help all the countries accelerate, grow and implement this massive clean energy transition.


Corporate and Financial World Are Finally Ready to Take Climate Action

Renewables to Overtake Coal as World’s Largest Power Source, Says IEA

Climate Change Poised to Push 100 Million Into ‘Extreme Poverty’ by 2030

UN Report Measures Significant Progress Ahead of Paris Climate Talks

Show Comments ()
About 2,700 square miles of Amazonia's forest is destroyed annually. Dallas Krentzel / Flickr

Earth's Intact Forests Are Invaluable, and in Danger

By Tim Radford

The world's unregarded forests are at risk. Intact forest is now being destroyed at an annual rate that threatens to cancel out any attempts to contain global warming by controlling greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new study.

A second study finds that trees in the tropical regions are dying twice as fast as they did 35 years ago—and human-induced climate change is a factor.

Keep reading... Show less
Modern Event Preparedness / Flickr

5 Billion People Could Have Poor Access to Water by 2050, UN Warns

As the world's population grows and the planet warms, demand for water will rise but the quality and reliability of the supply is expected to deteriorate, the United Nations said Monday in this year's World Water Development Report.

"We need new solutions in managing water resources so as to meet emerging challenges to water security caused by population growth and climate change," said Audrey Azoulay, director-general of the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), in a statement. "If we do nothing, some five billion people will be living in areas with poor access to water by 2050."

Keep reading... Show less

28 Activists Arrested at Kinder Morgan Pipeline Construction Site

Despite a court-ordered injunction barring anyone from coming within 5 meters (approximately 16.4 feet) of two of its BC construction sites, opponents of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion sent a clear message Saturday that they would not back down.

Twenty-eight demonstrators were arrested March 17 after blocking the front gate to Kinder Morgan's tank farm in Burnaby, BC for four hours, according to a press release put out by Protect the Inlet, the group leading the protest.

Keep reading... Show less

Three Outlandish Ideas to Cool the Planet

By Jeremy Deaton

Climate change is a big, ugly, unwieldy problem, and it's getting worse by the day. Emissions are rising. Ice is melting, and virtually no one is taking the carbon crisis as seriously as the issue demands. Countries need to radically overhaul their energy systems in just a few short decades, replacing coal, oil and gas with clean energy. Even if countries overcome the political obstacles necessary to meet that aim, they can expect heat waves, drought and storms unseen in the history of human civilization and enough flooding to submerge Miami Beach.

Keep reading... Show less

Those Little Produce Stickers? They’re a Big Waste Problem

By Dan Nosowitz

Those little produce stickers are ubiquitous fruits and vegetables everywhere. But, as CBC notes, they're actually a significant problem despite their small size.

Keep reading... Show less

Despite Trump’s Bluster, U.S. Officials and Scientists Maintain Climate Work with International Partners

Trump has loudly declared his intention to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris agreement, but, behind the tweets and the headlines, U.S. officials and scientists have carried on working with international partners to fight climate change, Reuters reported Wednesday.

Keep reading... Show less
Gina Loudon and administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Scott Pruitt speaking at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. Gage Skidmore

EPA Sued Over Failure to Release Correspondence With Heartland Institute

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is being sued for its "unlawful and unreasonable delay" in responding to requests for information about the agency's communications with the Heartland Institute, according to a complaint by the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) and the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF).

The Heartland Institute is an Illinois-based think tank that rejects the science of man-made climate change and has received funding from the Koch brothers and the fossil fuel industry.

Keep reading... Show less
Trump Watch
Aerial photo of Duke Energy Coal Ash Spill. Wake Forest University Center for Energy, Environment & Sustainability

Trump Administration Seeks to Gut Water Pollution Safeguards, Putting Communities at Risk

By Mary Anne Hitt

A Hollywood scriptwriter couldn't make this up. One day after new data revealed widespread toxic water contamination near coal ash disposal sites, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) head Scott Pruitt announced a proposal to repeal the very 2015 EPA safeguards that had required this data to be tracked and released in the first place. Clean water is a basic human right that should never be treated as collateral damage on a corporate balance sheet, but that is exactly what is happening.

Keep reading... Show less


The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!