Climate Action

IRENA: Investment in green energy is opportunity to meet climate goals and boost economic growth

IRENA say renewable energy can support resilient and equitable recovery.

  • 21 April 2020
  • Rachel Cooper

IRENA say renewable energy can support resilient and equitable recovery.

In its first Global Renewables Outlook Report, IRENA has shown that decarbonisation of the energy system can support short-term recovery while creating resilient and inclusive economies and societies.

IRENA say transforming the energy system could boost cumulative global GDP gains above business-as-usual by USD 98 trillion between now and 2050. It would nearly quadruple renewable energy jobs to 42 million, expand employment in energy efficiency to 21 million and add 15 million in system flexibility.

The report found that energy-related CO2 emissions have risen by 1% per year on average since 2010. IRENA say that while the health crisis and oil price slump may suppress emissions in 2020, a rebound would restore the long-term trend.

Recovery measures following the COVID-19 pandemic could include flexible power grids, efficiency solutions, electric vehicle charging, energy storage, interconnected hydropower, green hydrogen and other technology investments consistent with long-term energy and climate sustainability.

Francesco La Camera, IRENA’s Director-General, said: “Governments are facing a difficult task of bringing the health emergency under control while introducing major stimulus and recovery measures. The crisis has exposed deeply embedded vulnerabilities of the current system. IRENA’s Outlook shows the ways to build more sustainable, equitable and resilient economies by aligning short-term recovery efforts with the medium-and long-term objectives of the Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainable Development Agenda.”

“By accelerating renewables and making the energy transition an integral part of the wider recovery, governments can achieve multiple economic and social objectives in the pursuit of a resilient future that leaves nobody behind.”

The transition to renewables, efficiency and electrification can drive broad socio-economic development, say IRENA. The outlook’s Transforming Energy Scenario aligns energy investments with the need to keep global warming “well below 2oC”, in line with the Paris Agreement.

Read the full report here.