Tuesday, January 17, 2017

How Countries Act on Climate Change- Insight straight from IRENA 7th Assembly

Just 2 days back IRENA's (International Renewable Energy Agency) 7th Assembly concluded in Abu Dhabi. During this Assembly United Nations President of General Assembly, Peter Thomson addressed in press conference that 90% of humanity are not aware of UN's ambitious SDGs adopted by 193 nations for sustainable development.
Peter Thomson, UN
So I am bringing exclusively for my readers a simplified information on how countries act on Climate Change.

What are Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?

United Nations has set Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. UN's says 'this Agenda is a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity'.  So what are these SDGs? Just have a look at this chart below.
United Nation's SDGs from Agenda 2030

These 17 SDGs are further broken into 169 targets. Being a citizen of this planet, we all need to know these SDGs. When we talk about Green Consumerism, individuals choosing wisely it goes back to UN's sustainable development targets and these SDGs because these SDGs are related to Production and Consumption. Many people think, 'how it is related to me?' Or 'It's job of government not me'. But basically as comers it's our responsibility to say no to unsustainable consumption and increase demand of sustainable products and services. Not just governing bodies and organizations but all of us have a role in achieving these SDGs and take our society towards sustainable development.

What are Nationally determined Contribution (NDCs)?

During Paris climate conference (COP21) in December 2015, 195 countries adopted the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal called Paris Agreement, the first ever global climate change agreement between world nations. As of Dec 2016, 194 UNFCCC members (countries) have signed the treaty.

The agreement sets out a global action plan to put the world on track to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2°C.

Before and during the Paris conference, countries submitted comprehensive national climate action plans (NDCs). These are not yet enough to keep global warming below 2°C, but the agreement traces the way to achieving this target. These NDCs align with at least 154 out of 169 SDG targets. World Resource Institute clarifies, 'A wide range of actions that countries put forward in their INDCs – both for mitigation and adaptation – provide enormous potential for mutually supportive implementation with the SDGs.'

Read here an analysis prepared by EDA, UAE for Operationalising and Implementation of Paris Agreement by GCC countries.

IRENA's 7th Assembly

International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), is mandated to be the global hub for renewable energy cooperation and information exchange by 150 Members countries. In Mr. Adnan Amin's words who is Director General of IRENA,“The Agency has developed practical tools to enable countries to better plan their energy transition. Our annual Assembly provides a critical opportunity for high-level engagement with our Members and partners to examine how international cooperation can speed the transition to a sustainable energy future through concrete action and initiatives.”
IRENA 7th Assembly

IRENA's 7th Assembly took place on 14-15th Jan in Abu Dhbai where governmental officials from more than 150 countries, 75 ministers and global energy leaders attended this highest decision making body of the Agency to accelerate Renewable Energy deployment.

As a sustainability writer, I attended the Assembly and brought you these insights and observations straight from Assembly hall.

2017 IRENA Legislatory Forum

During the IRENA Legislators Forum, legislators from around the world discussed the key role of legislators in accelerating the deployment of renewables.
IRENA DG, Adnan Amin 

Assembly president, Mario Giro, Deputy-Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy discussed the role of renewables in reducing migration pressure and improving life of displaced people.
Germany discussed optimizations of tools and development of new energy storage technology. While Brazil mentioned they like renewables because of it's short construction time is a hedge against economic uncertainty. Indonesia stated engaging private sector is must for countries to achieve their renewable energy targets. Korean government mentioned that they are encouraging private commercial banks to provide loans to energy storage facilities. UAE's Minister of Climate Change and Environment H.E. Dr. Thani Al Zeyoudi stated "UAE's committed to acceleration of renewable energy. we have raised our clean energy target from 24% to 27% till 2021. UAE will decrease carbon emissions by 70% by 2050." Director General of IRENA, Adnan Amin stated socio-economic benefits and increase of energy jobs are important factors of renewable energy sectors. Read IRENA's Renewable Energy Jobs report in 2016 here.

Ministerial Round-tables

During ministerial Round-table, Moderator of Assembly and delegate from Norway stated Ensuring access to modern energy is critical to achieve SDGs. India power and renewable energy minister Piyush Goel mentioned, India's goal is to bring energy access to 50 million households by 2022. Sudan mentioned, "Sudan is very large, we ask our people to seek micro-finance to implement renewable energy projects". Denmark mentioned "we view renewable energy planning from perspective of NDC implementation and national economic planning."

Funding Renewable Energy

During Assembly Abu Dhabi Fund for Development/IRENA Project Facility  announced fourth round of funding of USD 44.5 million. The projects selected in this funding round are
Marshall Islands: A 4.6-megawatt (MW) hybrid micro-grid project, using solar PV and advanced lithium-ion batteries, that will provide renewable energy access to over 16,000 people.
Niger: A project focused on rural electrification for over 150,000 people, using 2.1 MW solar PV micro-grids and solar home kits. 100 schools will be electrified, drinking water supplies will be improved.
Seychelles: A government supported solar PV utility scale project will integrate a 5-MW solar PV plant into an existing wind farm, demonstrating an innovative space-saving solution for this small island nation.
Solomon Islands: A government-backed 20 MW reservoir dam and hydropower facility will diversify the country’s energy mix, provide renewable energy access to 5,000 people, create around 400 jobs, and avoid 44,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year.

Applications for funding were evaluated by an international panel of experts who reviewed the projects based on their technical feasibility, economic/commercial viability and socio-economic and environmental benefits.

During Assembly ADFD and Antigua and Barbuda signed loan agreement in front of press to develop renewable energy in Antigua and Barbuda.

ADFD and Antigua & Barbuda signing loan agreement

ADFD has funded 350 million dollar to clean energy projects around the world through IRENA.

Launch of REthinking Energy 2017

IRENA launched REthinking Energy 2017 during assembly which examines latest trends in renewable energy and dramatic changes in energy sector across many countries.

REthinking Energy 2017
Plummeting costs and rapid innovation have spurred investments, transforming renewable energy from niche to an economically and technically preferred solution.

Renewable energy investment in power beat fossil fuels for 3rd year in row and developing countries are accounting for the first time for more than half of investment in renewable energy.

REthinking energy 2017 highlights the need of using renewable energy for heating and cooling in buildings and industry, and for transportation. Another interesting point this publication makes is, 7th SDGs, which is 'affordable and clean energy' can support all other SDGs can lead us to achieve sustainable development.
Renewable Energy supporting all SDGs

Finally some interesting Facts about developments in Renewable Energy Sector by now

# 173 Countries have adopted some type of renewable Energy

# Power Producers are increasingly turning towards geothermal energy

# 40% of fortune 500 companies have set sustainable energy targets.

IRENA assembly marked opening of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2017, follow me on twitter to get updates on ADSW2017!

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