Disentangling the 2030 global renewable energy target

Source: The post is based on the article “Disentangling the 2030 global renewable energy target” published in “The Hindu” on 15th September 2023.

Syllabus: GS3- Economy- infrastructure (energy)

News: The article addresses the challenges and consequences of the global target set at COP28, which aims to triple renewable energy capacity by 2030. It highlights the unequal burden on developing countries and stresses the importance of developed nations committing to more equitable targets.

What is the current status of renewable energy?

Global Renewable Energy Status:

Installed Capacity: In 2021, the global installed capacity of renewable energy sources (RES) was 3026 GW, constituting 39% of the total capacity from all sources.

Electricity Generation: Renewable energy accounted for 28% of total electricity generation. Of this, more than half was from hydropower, while solar contributed 13% and wind added 23%.

Target: The COP28 proposal aims to triple global renewable energy capacity to about 9000 GW by 2030.

India’s Renewable Energy Status:

Growth Rate: Electricity consumption in India grew annually at 6.3% between 2010 and 2019.

Future Goals: At COP26, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared a target for India to reach 500GW from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030.

What are the major issues regarding global energy targets?

Ambitious Goal: Tripling the renewable energy capacity by 2030 from the 2021 levels would mean installing around 6000 GW of renewable capacity in a short span, surpassing the total energy capacity of 2021.

Discrepancy in Generation: While renewable energy sources (RES) constituted 39% of global capacity in 2021, they only contributed 28% to actual electricity generation.

Hydropower Limitations: Most renewable energy generation comes from hydropower, but constructing new hydro plants may exceed the 2030 timeline.

Inequitable Burden: The proposed targets could unfairly place higher demands on developing countries like India, while developed nations like the US and EU might contribute minimally based on their current growth rates and phase-out plans.

Lack of Transparency: The origin and analysis backing the COP28 renewable energy target are not fully transparent, with the proposal closely mirroring an inequitable scenario from the International Renewable Energy Agency.

What should be done?

Transparent Analysis: The origin and rationale behind the COP28 renewable energy goal need clearer transparency, avoiding undue influence from reports like that of the International Renewable Energy Agency.

Equitable Distribution: The burden of the renewable energy target should be distributed fairly among countries. Developed nations like the U.S. and EU should adopt absolute targets that reflect their responsibility and historical emissions.

Consider Growth Rates: The diverse electricity consumption growth rates across countries should be taken into account. For instance, India’s growth rate of 6.3% versus the EU’s decline of 0.3%.

Commit Developed Countries: Developed countries, especially the U.S. and EU, should commit to phase out fossil fuels and adopt concrete renewable energy targets, easing the transition for developing nations.

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