The world is lagging behind the 2030 renewable energy target, the IEA warns

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The world’s clean energy plans remain nearly a third short of what is needed to meet the 2030 renewable energy target agreed at UN climate talks last year, the International Energy Agency warned, as delegates from nearly 200 countries they meet again in Bonn this week.

Bargaining over a new climate finance deal and improved national pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions will take place over 10 days at UN talks to lay the groundwork for the COP29 climate summit in Baku in November.

The talks will also focus on how to ensure the plans agreed at COP28 in Dubai last year are met, including the goal of tripling global renewable energy generation capacity to at least 11,000 gigawatts by 2030.

Data released by the IEA on Tuesday show that existing policies and country estimates suggest that 8,000 GW of renewable energy will be installed by the end of the decade. Almost 40 percent of this capacity, or 3,180 GW, is China’s plans for solar, wind and hydropower.

The global renewable energy target was «ambitious but achievable – though only if governments quickly turn promises into action plans», said the agency’s chief executive Fatih Birol.

Annual additions of renewable capacity have tripled since the 2015 Paris Agreement to limit global warming, the IEA said, as the cost of solar and wind power fell by 40 percent. Almost half of the countries it assessed have plans to double their renewable energy installations by 2030.

Despite this progress, permitted delays, underinvestment and grid infrastructure problems still plague most energy systems.

The pace of clean energy development is set to accelerate in most regions, including the EU, the US and India, the IEA said.

«You’re talking about huge hurdles to overcome in terms of finance, grid integration, access to key minerals, workforce development,» said Alden Meyer, a senior fellow at climate-focused think-tank E3G. “It’s a daunting goal and it’s great that there was a political consensus that we need to get there, but now [negotiators] have reduced to the hard part.»

Updated national decarbonisation plans that countries need to submit to the UN by early 2025 should include more detail on their targets for increasing renewable energy, the IEA report recommends.

Delegates from almost 200 countries gathered in Bonn for the UN climate talks, which were repeatedly interrupted by protests on the first day. © Christopher Neundorf/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Kicking off meetings in Bonn marking the halfway point to COP29 on Monday, UN climate chief Simon Stiell said the planet was on course for a «devastatingly high» rise in global temperatures of 2.7C in the industrial era.

The discussions started against an uncomfortable background. The German government’s climate adviser, the Council of Climate Change Experts, said it was unlikely to meet the target of cutting emissions by 65 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. This is despite a slowdown in production that contributed to lower emissions in the country last year.

Flood warnings were also issued for many parts of Germany this week, with the Rhine closed to navigation where water levels were too high. Areas of the country have experienced periods of extreme rainfall since the beginning of the year, in line with global trends.

The first day of talks was interrupted by protesters holding the Palestinian flag, and they were also delayed by a complaint from the Russian delegation regarding access to German visas.

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