Could a ‘collaboration gap’ undermine climate progress?

Greater international cooperation is needed to get the world on track to meet its climate commitments, finds the International Energy Agency (IEA)

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has outlined a global ‘collaboration gap’ that threatens to undermine climate progress and delay net zero by decades.

Requested by 45 world leaders, it has served as a progress report on the actions needed to deliver on the clean technology commitment made by governments representing two-thirds of the global economy at last year’s COP26 summit.

The Breakthrough Agenda, as the commitment is known, aims to align countries’ actions and coordinate investment to scale up deployment and drive down costs across five key sectors including – power, road transport, steel, hydrogen and agriculture.

Together, these sectors account for nearly 60% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions today and could deliver the bulk of the emission reductions needed by 2030 in a pathway that would make a significant contribution to limiting global warming to a maximum of 1.5°C, in line with the Paris Agreement goals.

“The Breakthrough Agenda and our joint report sends a strong signal ahead of COP27 that greater international collaboration can amplify ambition and accelerate progress. Advancing the transition to renewables is a strategic choice to bring affordable energy, jobs, economic growth and a cleaner environment to the people on the ground,” said Francesco La Camera, Director-General of IRENA.

Creating an impact globally, not just at a national level 

In its report, a significant portion of the findings relate directly to the automotive industry. It noted a doubling of EVs sales in 2021 from the previous year, to a new record of 6.6 million. There was also forecast increase in global renewable capacity of 8% in 2022 – pushing through the 300GW mark for the first time and equivalent to powering approximately 225 million homes

Research from the IEA shows that without international collaboration, the transition to net zero global emissions could be delayed by decades. While new research cited by the report shows that some technology costs may decline by as much as 18% by 2030. And IRENA estimates cited by the report suggest an energy transition aligned with limiting global temperature increase to 1.5°C could create close to 85 million additional jobs by 2030 compared to 2019, more than offsetting losses of 12 million jobs.

“This report highlights the need to ensure affordable access to clean and green sources of energy for all. This is also a strong reminder on the need for a focus on implementation, which must be the priority at the national, regional and local level, in order to have the necessary impact globally as well as the need for mobilisation of appropriate finance," said Dr Mahmoud Mohieldin, UN Climate Change High-Level Champion for Egypt.

The Breakthrough Agenda Report also set out 25 collaborative actions to help make clean power, EVs, low-carbon steel and hydrogen, and sustainable farming the most affordable options as soon as possible.

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