Climate: despite the emergency, the share of renewable energies is not progressing

The intense and early heat wave affecting France at the moment reminds us of this. The fight against global warming and the meteorological disorders it causes must be an absolute priority for States. And yet. It is still time to use polluting fossil fuels, to the detriment of renewable energies, denounces in its latest report the network of experts REN21, which brings together players in the sector, scientists, public authorities, NGOs and industrialists. “After two years of the pandemic, major nations had promised to seize the opportunity to trigger a green recovery, but this opportunity has not materialized. The energy transition has not taken place,” he laments.

These experts claim that the share of renewable energy in the world’s total energy consumption stagnated last year. Despite record renewable capacity installations, this share remains around 12%, as in 2020. of this decade, essential climate objectives”, notes the report.

black bridge in transport

Significant efforts have certainly been made in the electricity sector, where the share of renewables reached 28.3%, driven by the record increase in capacity (+314.5 GW, i.e. 17% more than in 2020 ) and production (+7.793 TWh). But conversely, for heating, the share of renewable energies has stagnated in ten years, reaching only 11.2% today.

More worryingly, in the transport sector, the share of renewable energies barely reaches 3.7%. “The lack of progress is particularly worrying, because this sector represents almost a third of the world’s energy consumption”, remind the experts.

Jump in fossil fuel investments

The latter noting with bitterness that in order to cope with the increase in energy demand which accompanied the post-Covid economic recovery, the States have turned to “the old remedies”. Most of the increase in energy consumption has been covered by fossil fuels, “resulting in the largest increase in global CO2 emissions in history, an increase of more than 2 billion tons from 2020”, according to them.

The movement is old. Between 2018 and 2020, governments across the world spent “a staggering $18 trillion in fossil fuel subsidies sometimes alongside reduced support for renewables (e.g., India),” REN21 adds.

This obsession with fossil fuels, despite the renewal of commitments in favor of the climate formulated during the COPs, continues today. And this, in a context of escalating gas and oil prices, aggravated in recent months by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Deploring “the alarming gap between ambitions and actions”, the report notes that, faced with soaring energy prices, States have chosen to support their support for the production and/or purchase of gas or fuels.

“Renewable energies are the best option”

For the authors of the report, the trend must be reversed, and quickly. Governments should start by setting binding targets to deploy renewables, with costed short- and long-term plans and specific end dates for fossil fuels. They urge in particular to follow the example of the 84 countries – including Denmark, Iceland, Ireland or Portugal – which have adopted clear objectives in terms of renewable energies for all of their economic sectors.

The share of renewable energies in the total final energy consumption of a selection of countries, in 2019.REN21

“Renewable energy is the best and most affordable option to control the will of prices. We must increase the share of renewable energies and make it a priority of economic and industrial policies. You don’t put out a fire with a flamethrower,” warns Rana Adib, executive director of REN21.

Leave a Comment