Abu Dhabi Conference To Build On the Momentum Of COP 21

By Bernhard Schell | IDN-InDepthNew Report

DUBAI (IDN) – Government officials from over 150 countries and representatives from the private sector, civil society and international organizations are gathering in Abu Dhabi on January 16-17 for the first time after the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in December to discuss the implications of the historic Paris Agreement.

The gathering marks the 6th assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). It will focus on the critical role of renewable energy in combating climate change and meeting other Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

IRENA analysis shows that scaling up deployment to achieve a 36 per cent share of renewable energy in the global energy mix by 2030 can provide roughly half of the emissions reductions needed to keep the global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius, while energy efficiency can provide the rest.

The share of renewables needs to grow not only in power generation but also in transport, heating and cooling. To avoid a lock-in with unsustainable energy systems, investments must grow immediately and must almost double to USD 500 billion annually between now and 2020, IRENA’s analysis ‘Rethinking Energy’ shows.

According to the study, five clear actions are needed to support the renewable energy transition: strengthening the policy commitment to renewable energy; mobilising investment in renewable energy; building institutional, technical and human capacity; harnessing the cross-cutting impact of renewables on sustainable development; and enhancing regional engagement and international cooperation.

IRENA analysis, titled REthinking Energy: Renewable Energy and Climate Change, was released in November 2015, ahead of the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, held in Paris, France.

The IRENA Assembly is part of the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (running to January 23), which is one of the world’s largest annual gatherings in sustainability and renewable energy.

A special high-level event during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week – Global Action Day – will be held on January 18 to take stock of COP 21 outcomes with a particular focus on identifying pre-2020 actions that can be taken by both the public and private sectors.

Highlights of this year’s Assembly include two Ministerial Roundtable sessions on renewable energy post-COP21, focusing on action and scaling up investment. Also multiple IRENA reports including “Renewable Energy Benefits: Measuring the Economics” and “Renewable Energy Market Analysis: The GCC Region” would be launched.

The gathering will also used to announce five renewable energy projects in developing countries to be awarded funding under the IRENA Abu Dhabi Fund for Development Project Facility.

IRENA and the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) have collaborated to offer concessional loans worth USD 350 million over seven annual funding cycles to promising renewable energy projects in developing countries.

These projects are recommended by IRENA to ADFD for final selection. The ADFD loans cover up to 50% of the projects costs and help leverage additional funding. Since 2012, USD 98 million of ADFD loans have already been allocated to 11 renewable energy projects recommended by IRENA.

Over USD 146 million has been leveraged through other funding sources to cover the rest of the project costs. Each project selection cycle opens in November of each year. Selected projects are announced at the annual IRENA Assembly in January of each year.

The event will be attended by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, French Foreign Minister and COP 21 President Laurent Fabius, UAE Minister of State and Special Envoy for Climate Change Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Ministers from Morocco (host of the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference COP22) and the UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres.

With 196 Parties, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has near universal membership and is the parent treaty of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.

The Kyoto Protocol has been ratified by 192 of the UNFCCC Parties. For the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, 37 States, consisting of highly industrialized countries and countries undergoing the process of transition to a market economy, have legally binding emission limitation and reduction commitments.

In Doha in 2012, the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol adopted an amendment to the Kyoto Protocol, which establishes the second commitment period under the Protocol. The ultimate objective of both treaties is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system. [IDN-InDepthNews – 14 January 2016]

Image: IRENA

2016 IDN-InDepthNews | Analysis That Matters

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