The world should switch to cleaner forms of energy, such as solar, wind and hydro-electric power to limit the global temperature rise,. according to a new multi-agency report from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
In the State of Climate Services annual report, the WMO said that the supply of electricity from clean energy sources must double within the next eight years to limit global temperature increase. “Otherwise, there is a risk that climate change, more extreme weather and water stress will undermine our energy security and even jeopardize renewable energy supplies,” it said.
The report includes inputs from 26 different organizations and focuses on energy this year because it holds the key to international agreements on sustainable development and climate change and, indeed, to the planet’s health.
CLEANER ENERGY; FIGHTING THE TIME
WMO Secretary-General ProfPetteri Taalas opined; “Switching to clean forms of energy generation, such as solar, wind and hydro power – and improving energy efficiency – is vital if we are to thrive in the twenty-first century. Net zero by 2050 is the aim. But we will only get there if we double the supply of low-emissions electricity within the next eight years.”
“Time is not on our side, and our climate is changing before our eyes. We need a complete transformation of the global energy system,” says Prof. Taalas.
Meanwhile, International Energy AgencyExecutive Director Fatih Birol said “we urgently need to respond to the growing impact of climate change on energy systems if we are to maintain energy security while accelerating the transition to net-zero. This requires long-term planning and bold policy action to spur investment, which in turn needs to be underpinned by comprehensive and reliable weather and climate data.”
IRENA’s Director-General Francesco La Camera who also had the same opinion said “anything short of radical and immediate action will ultimately eliminate the chance of staying on the 1.5°C path. The intertwined energy and climate crises have dramatically exposed the weaknesses and vulnerabilities of an economic system heavily reliant on fossil fuels. Advancing the transition to renewables is a strategic choice to bring affordable energy, jobs, economic growth and a resilient environment to the people and communities on the ground.”
CLEANER ENERGY; INVESTMENTS IN RENEWABLES
Investments in renewable energy need to triple by 2050 to put the world on a net zero trajectory by 2050, according to figures quoted in the report. In 2019–2020, most renewable energy investments were made in the East Asia and Pacific region (mainly China and Japan), followed by Western Europe, and North America.
Developing countries are under-represented when it comes to accessing clean energy finance.
International public financial flows to developing countries in support of clean energy and SDG 7 achievement decreased in 2019 for the second year in a row, falling to US$ 10.9 billion. This level of support was 23% lower than the US$ 14.2 billion provided in 2018, 25% lower than the 2010–2019 average, and less than half of the peak of US$ 24.7 billion in 2017.
CLEANER ENERGY; SECURITY AT RISK GLOBALLY
In the report, the WMO says that Heat Waves and Droughts are already putting existing energy generation under stress, making it even more important to reduce fossil fuel emissions.
Pointing out that the impact of more frequent and intense extreme weather, water and climate events is already clear, the report cited the example of massive power outages caused by a historic heatwave in Buenos Aires, Argentina in January 2022 that affected around 7,00,000 people. In November 2020, freezing rain coated power lines in the Far East of the Russian Federation, leaving hundreds of thousands of homes without electricity for several days, it said.
CLEANER ENERGY; WATER RESOURCES
The report states that 87% of global electricity in 2020 was generated from thermal, nuclear and hydroelectric systems directly depended on water availability. Meanwhile, 33% of the thermal power plants that rely on freshwater availability for cooling are in high water stress areas. This is also the case for 15% of existing nuclear power plants, a share expected to increase to 25% in the next 20 years.
It also said that nuclear power plants, which depend on water for cooling, are also often situated in low-lying coastal areas – leaving them vulnerable to rising sea levels and weather-related flooding.
CLEANER ENERGY;CLIMATE ACTION PLANS
The WMO in its report said that despite all the risks, just 40% of climate action plans submitted by governments to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) prioritize adaptation in the energy sector, and investment is correspondingly low.
It mentioned that the pathway to reach the Paris Agreement’s long-term global goal on temperature requires 7.1 TW of clean energy capacity to be installed by 2030, according to figures cited in the report.
CLEANER ENERGY; LOOKING AHEAD
Climate services in the energy generation field, may include planning the purchases of gas and electric power; managing emergency responses; and optimizing power plants from renewable sources – especially reservoirs and hydro power operations.
In the energy sector, studies have demonstrated the economic value of very short-term, seasonal and sub-seasonal forecasts for fuel purchasing.
Temperature forecasts allow more accurate calculations that enable optimal power generation scheduling, to meet demands at a lower cost.
Meanwhile, daily, weekly and seasonal rain and stream flow forecasts, are helpful to optimize hydro power operations.
This year’s the State of Climate Services annual report edition includes input from more partners than ever before. They include the International Energy Agency (IEA), International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL), UN Energy, ENEL Foundation, Adaptation Fund, Green Climate Fund (GCF), Global Environment Facility (GEF), the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) and others, including private sector and civil society organizations.