Alex Rose-Innes

With the COVID-19 pandemic wreaking havoc on global economies, the Top 100 renewable energy industry role players had urged governments to increase their green recovery measures to re-align with the 2020 Paris Agreement.

The call for the urgent up-scaling of climate action came from, inter alia, the World Future Council (WFC) and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Coalition for Action. In a combined statement, it said that green energy transition could foster economic resilience and secure a climate-safe future after the pandemic.

Despite certain countries announcing more ambitious climate commitments, most still have to take decisive action towards accelerating energy transition. At the end of last year, G20 countries had committed more than $200 billion towards green investment opportunities to coincide with the fifth year of its inception.

The European Union (EU) and Germany, in an analysis paper by senior policy officers and advisors of the WFC, had been blamed for a lack of political will and commitment against the use of fossil fuels. Many governments are still not convinced of the green-ability of hydrogen and e-mobility strategies.

According to Anna Skowron, Senior Policy Officer at WFC and member of the IRENA Coalition for Action, uncertainty about the level of “greenness” of hydrogen and e-mobility strategy was still prevalent. During the G20 virtual meeting in Riyadh in December 2020, Skowron made it clear that research had shown that extreme weather events and pandemics would increase calling for urgent fast-tracking of greener energy transition.

Building on its previous call to action, the IRENA Coalition for Action urged governments to reset their recovery priorities through re-evaluation of stimulus measures and improved plans to ensure a green recovery in line with global climate objectives.

Other actions which were highlighted included raising policy ambitions and clarifying long-term plans for renewable generation and consumption, up scaling the political will of governments to ensure energy markets could provide sustainable growth in green renewables, thereby stimulating investment.

Governments in Africa had already prioritised renewable energy as a key component of industrial policies and increased international co-operation and action. Finally, IRENA had also called for labour and education policies to be aligned with just energy transition.

“Now is the time to use the momentum of a green recovery to continue building broad public support for the transformative decarbonisation of societies and pave the way for equitable, inclusive and resilient economies”, Skowron said.