Carbon emissions could be cut by 70 percent by 2050, says IRENA

Adnan Z Amin, Director General IRENA
Adnan Z Amin, Director General, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). Courtesy Photo.

A research by International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has shown that global energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions could be reduced by 70 percent by 2050 and completely phased out by 2060.

It suggests that to achieve the targets, the share of renewable energy in primary energy supply would need to increase to 65 percent in 2050 from 15 percent in 2015.

An additional $29 trillion of energy investment would be needed to 2050, equivalent to 0.4 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP). Such investment should provide stimulus that, with other policies supporting growth, would boost global GDP by 0.8 percent in 2050, said the report.

The Report released on Monday in Berlin in Germany calls for more focus on the decarbonision of the global energy system as it accounts for almost two-thirds of greenhouse gas emissions.

IRENA Director-General, Adnan Z. Amin said in a statement that the world is in a good position to transform the global energy system but success will depend on urgent action, as delays will raise the costs of decarbonisation.

The report says renewable energy now accounts for 24% of global power generation and 16% of primary energy supply.

To achieve decarbonisation, the report states that, by 2050, renewables should be 80 percent of power generation and 65 percent of total primary energy supply.

Uganda is one of the countries with an ambitious plan of scaling up inclusion of renewable energy in the country’s energy mix. One those is the large solar plants with one operating in Soroti.

Chebet Maikut, the Acting Commissioner in Charge of the Climate Change Department said that government is also taking another step in climate change action by asking all Ministries to integrate climate change.

Chebet Maikut also Uganda’s focal point person at the UN Framework Convention said Uganda is the creating  of an enabling environment to encourage foreign and local investors to fund renewable energy projects.

He says Uganda and Africa at large are looking towards the developed countries to own up to their commitments in providing funds and technologies for uptake of renewable energy options. Maikut says the adoption of renewable energy requires a lot of funding that is lacking in most of least developed countries.

The International Renewable Energy report comes just after days after the International Energy Agency (IEA) reported that  global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions were flat for a third straight year in 2016 even as the global economy grew.

This was the result of growing renewable power generation, switches from coal to natural gas, improvements in energy efficiency, as well as structural changes in the global economy.
Global emissions from the energy sector stood at 32.1 gigatonnes last year, the same as the previous two years, while the global economy grew 3.1 percent

According to the estimates, carbon dioxide emissions declined in the United States and China, the world’s two-largest energy users and emitters, and were stable in Europe, offsetting increases in most of the rest of the world.

The biggest drop came from the United States, where carbon dioxide emissions fell 3 percent , or 160 million tonnes, while the economy grew by 1.6 percent .

The International Energy Agency’s executive director, Dr. Fatih Birol said the three years of flat emissions in a growing global economy signal an emerging trend and that is certainly a cause for optimism, even if it is was too soon to say that global emissions have definitely peaked.

In 2016, renewables supplied more than half the global electricity demand growth, with hydro accounting for half of that share.

– Uganda Radio Network