With the Paris Agreement celebrating its fifth anniversary this week, all eyes are on the world’s governments to urgently scale-up climate action.
In a renewed call to action, over 100 leading renewable energy players, as members of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Coalition for Action, urge governments to correct course. By placing a renewables-based energy transition at the heart of an economic recovery from COVID-19, governments can foster bring economic resilience and secure a climate-safe future.
Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, governments have demonstrated their capacity to mobilize efforts and recovery packages at historically unprecedented levels. While some countries have announced more ambitious climate commitments as part of their measures to achieve sustainable and resilient economies post-COVID-19, many others have yet to take decisive actions to move towards a green recovery.
To date, G20 countries have committed at least USD 233 billion in supporting the fossil fuel sector and fossil fuel-dependent industries. These billions represent a missed opportunity to accelerate the energy transition and to power long-term job creation and investment opportunities at a time when we need them most.
Hivos is concerned about how inclusive the design of the recovery programs are, in terms of reaching remote and poorer communities, micro and small entrepreneurs and informal workers. Especially, considering that the virus is deepening the existing socio-economic inequalities between and within countries. Hivos analysis on the impacts of Covid19 on rural communities and small businesses operating in these communities shows that uptake of renewable energy technologies has dropped and the virus sparks surge in firewood use. Hence, the Covid19 pandemic has intensified the urgency to ensure universal access to clean energy and to support the poorest of society in the energy transition.
“For an inclusive and green recovery after the crisis we must ensure access to electricity and clean cooking fuels for the poorest section of society and support small businesses and the informal sector. On this path, it is essential to include the voices and address the specific needs of communities and the informal and small businesses operating in developing countries to ensure no one is left behind.” Says Eco Matser, Program Manager Energy and Climate Hivos.
Building on its previous call to action released in April 2020, the Coalition for Action now urges governments to reset their recovery priorities through the following six actions:
- Re-evaluate stimulus measures and correct course to ensure a green recovery in line with global climate objectives.
- Raise policy ambitions and clarify long-term plans for renewable generation and consumption, both centralized and decentralized.
- Ensure energy markets can deliver continuity and stimulate investment and growth in renewables.
- Prioritize renewable energy as a key component of industrial policies.
- Align labor and education policies with a just energy transition.
- Intensify international co-operation and action on COVID-19 while recognizing renewable energy as a key part of the solution.
Through these six actions, governments can align their economic recovery from COVID-19 with their climate plans, deliver on their commitments under the Paris Agreement, and come back stronger than ever from the COVID-19 crisis. Now is the time to use the momentum of a green recovery to continue building broad public support for the transformative decarbonization of societies and pave the way for equitable, inclusive and resilient economies.
For a more detailed view of the IRENA Coalition for Action’s renewed Call to Action, please click here.