A few years ago, a global renewables target would have been inconceivable. The fact that the tripling target is included in final COP text – in a historically oil & gas country – is an unequivocal signal that renewables are in, and fossil fuels are out.
This is the first time in the history of COP that the final text has specifically noted the important role of solar and wind as an cost-competitive and innovative technology key to achieving climate targets, as well as recognition of need to transition away from fossil fuels. This is a big win for the renewables industry, and a big win for climate action.
But ‘recognizing’ and ‘calling upon’ is not the same as ‘acting’.
The final outcomes still lacks commitment and deadlines to urgently empower countries to rapidly phase out fossil fuels and replace with renewables. And this should not be with technologies that allow for business as usual like gas and CCUS, which are shockingly included in this text as low carbon or transitional technologies.
This text still leaves too many backdoors for countries to escape from taking meaningful action. But where COP falls short, the renewables industry can pick up the slack.
While there has been unprecedented support for scaling-up renewables and phasing out fossil fuels, some governments still need to wake up to market realities, and the new economics of energy. Some of the biggest opposition that led to the removal of commitments to phase out fossil fuels in final text are also the markets with the most forecasted renewables growth. Renewables are already replacing fossil fuels in their markets and their policy positions need to catch up.
Solar can and is ready to deliver the major part of the tripling pledge and could deliver more – about 25 billion solar panels in total – if the right finance, permitting and grid are in place. From now until we meet in Baku for COP29, we need to continue to work to turn the tripling pledge into action. This means working with governments, multilateral banks, civil society, and other stakeholders to secure key enablers like finance and regulatory frameworks that accelerate renewables.
It is thanks to the plummeting cost and innovation of solar and renewables that 1.5 C is still just within reach. Let’s celebrate the pledge we secured now, but get ready for the work that still lies ahead to achieve this target and keep 1.5 C truly alive.
Read more in the Global Renewables Alliance official press release.
- GSC Statement on COP28 Outcomes
- GSC CEO Statement on COP28 Tripling Renewables Pledge
- Global Solar Council Appoints Sonia Dunlop as New CEO, Strengthening its Leadership to Drive Solar Power Growth
- Turning ambition into action: Key takeaways from New York Climate Week
- Global Solar Council calls for increased ambition and action at the 14th Clean Energy Ministerial