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Race for clean energy gathers speed, but not fast enough for 1.5C goal

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Race for clean energy gathers speed, but not fast enough for 1.5C goal

United Nations, Nov 3 (Ajit Weekly News) “Humanity’s fate hangs in the balance,” the indefatigable climate crusader UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned, but added a note of optimism that “we have the technologies to avoid the worst of climate chaos – if we act now”.

The solution to the climate crisis is a complete phaseout of fossil fuels, now the main source for producing energy, he said at the inauguration of the Climate Summit in Dubai on Friday, if global warming is to be limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius from the pre-industrial levels to prevent a global meltdown.

The paths to achieving the goal are switching to electricity as the energy source, producing the electricity through sources that do not produce greenhouse gases like solar, wind, hydro and nuclear, and moving to systems like cars, heating and cooling and manufacturing machinery to run on electricity.

The technology for all that is available — and new ones are on the way.

The world may be far from achieving the 1.5 degrees Celsius goal, but International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Executive Director Fatih Biro has a positive message — the world is progressing at a record-breaking speed in harnessing renewable energy sources.

“This year, the world is set to add a record-breaking amount of renewables to electricity systems – more than the total power capacity of Germany and Spain combined,” he said.

Additions to the global renewable capacity are set to soar by 107 gigawatts (GW), “the largest absolute increase ever”, to more than 440 GW this year, according to the IEA.

New policy measures are helping drive significant increases in India and the United States over the next two years, while China is set to account for almost 55 per cent of the increase in renewable power capacity this year and the next, IEA reported.

it also predicted that more than 90 per cent of the increase in global energy demand will be met by renewable energy and nuclear sources by 2025.

Consultancy company McKinsey reported that renewable energy sources are expected to account for 45 per cent to 50 per cent of global power generation by 2030, and between 65 per cent and 85 per cent by 2050.

Its Global Energy Perspectives report said that fossil fuel consumption overall is expected to fall starting in 2030, although the reductions will be uneven with coal peaking in this decade, oil in 2030 and gas by 2040.

On the consumption side, a noticeable shift can be seen in the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs).

According to the World Economic Forum, EV sales increased 55 per cent last year to 10.5 million, making up 13 per cent of light vehicles sold.

The investment company UBS reported that by 2040, virtually every new car sold globally will be electric, growing from 20 per cent of new car sales in 2025 and 40 per cent in 2030.

While these are positive developments, McKinsey’s report warns: “Despite significant reductions in carbon emissions, all energy transition scenarios remain above the 1.5C pathway and result in warming of between 1.6 degrees Celsius and 2.9 degrees Celsius.”

It lists the possible stumbling blocks: “The question now is whether supply chains can keep up with the pace of the energy transition. Materials shortages and production bottlenecks — and even land availability — all threaten to slow momentum.”

(Arul Louis can be contacted at [email protected] and followed at @arulouis)

–Ajit Weekly News

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