Tripling the global capacity of renewable energies (mainly solar and wind and, to a lesser extent, hydro) by 2030 has become one of the main mantras of international events in which climate policies are addressed. At the last G20 meeting, held in India three weeks ago, the most powerful countries on the planet pledged to move towards that goal, which would mean going from the current more than 3,500 gigawatts (GW) installed to about 11,000 GW by the end of this decade. Multiplying clean energy by three is part of the roadmap to keep alive the objective of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees compared to pre-industrial levels, as established by the Paris Agreement.
Thirty-five countries have met this Monday in Madrid in a mini-summit on energy and climate in which this objective has also been discussed. What is sought now is that all nations assume this goal of multiplying by three renewables at the next climate summit to be held at the end of the year in Dubai, COP28.
The Madrid event has been organized by the Government of Spain, which holds the presidency of the EU this semester, and by the International Energy Agency (IEA). And, according to the document of conclusions that both have disseminated after the meeting, multiplying by three the installation of renewables by 2030 is in the frontispiece of what the countries participating in this mini-summit in Madrid expect from COP28. Most of them have been European countries, although representatives from the United States, Brazil, Kenya, Argentina, Chile and Costa Rica have also attended. In any case, the profile has not been very high: only fifteen ministers have attended and, among them, those from France, Germany, the United States or Brazil, for example, did not appear.
In addition to the commitment to renewables, the third vice president and acting minister for the Ecological Transition, Teresa Ribera, has detailed that another of the consensuses they have found among the participating countries refers to the need to double global energy efficiency. Both measures are contained in a special report published last week by the International Energy Agency that offers a roadmap to keep alive the goal of not exceeding 1.5 degrees of warming. The planet is already at a warming level of about 1.1 degrees and every year that passes without drastically reducing greenhouse gas emissions, that goal of 1.5, which is the safety threshold that has been set from science, is further away. "We are not aligned with the goals of the Paris Agreement," Ribera warned. In fact, the current climate plans of the countries will lead to an increase in temperature of more than 2.5 degrees,
At the opening of the meeting, the executive director of the IEA, Fatih Birol, also stressed the need to triple the implementation of renewables during this decade. In the same vein, the president of COP28, Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, has warned that the world is not on track to meet the goal of 1.5 degrees, and has asked all countries to assume at the summit in the United Arab Emirates the objective of tripling renewables to reach 11,000 GW of installed capacity in 2030.
Al Jaber did not attend the meeting held in Madrid, but sent a video for the opening of this meeting. He announced in his speech that more than 20 oil and gas companies have already committed to assume as their own the decarbonization objectives that come out of the Dubai summit, which will be held between November 30 and December 12.
Also through a video has participated in the inauguration of this meeting the Secretary General of the UN, António Guterres, who has asked precisely that oil companies present real decarbonization plans. In recent years, Guterres has repeatedly railed against the greenwashing practiced by many companies, especially fossil fuel companies. The UN Secretary General presented a document a year ago, prepared by a group of experts, in which several rules were set to avoid ecoposture. And it was made clear that no company can be considered green if it continues to bet on new oil and gas exploitations as a business model.
The fear of greenwhasing gains even more weight with the summit being held in the United Arab Emirates, a country whose economy is based on fossil fuels. In fact, Sultan Al Jaber, in addition to presiding over COP28, is also the CEO of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc). There are fears among climate activists and more ambitious countries that this year's summit will try to avoid any mention of the need to abandon oil and gas in order to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.
The conclusions document of the Madrid meeting prepared by the IEA and the Spanish government points to the need for "the phasing out of fossil fuels", including the end of new permits for coal plants. Ribera, however, has acknowledged that there has been no consensus on calling for an end to any new exploitation of gas, oil and coal to be aligned with the 1.5 degree target.
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