Abu Dhabi-based agency calls for clean energy investments to double

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Saudi Acwa Power-generating windmills are pictured in Jbel Sendouq, on the outskirts of Tangier, Morocco, June 29, 2018. REUTERS
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IRENA Director-General Francesco La Camera during a press conference after the 10th session of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) council, which gathered international delegates and experts to discuss reports on the advancement of renewable energy worldwide. (AFP)
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Updated 12 January 2020

Abu Dhabi-based agency calls for clean energy investments to double

  • IRENA said that electricity output from renewable sources would more than double over the next decade

ABU DHABI: An international agency promoting clean energy called Sunday for investments in renewable energy projects to be more than doubled, redirecting funds from fossil fuels.
The Abu Dhabi-based International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) also said that electricity output from renewable sources would more than double over the next decade.
“The agency’s data shows that annual renewable energy investment needs to double from around $330 billion today to close to $750 billion to deploy renewable energy at the speed required,” it said in a report.
“Much of the needed investment can be met by redirecting planned fossil fuel investment,” IRENA said.
It estimated as much as $10 trillion worth of investments are planned in non-renewables-related energy projects by 2030, risking failure to meet the goals of fighting global warming.
Some $2.6 trillion had been invested in renewable energy projects by end 2019, according to the United Nations Environment Programme.
IRENA director general Francesco La Camera told reporters on the sidelines of its annual assembly in Abu Dhabi that renewable energy programs must be accelerated.
If we want to deal “with the consequences of climate change, we have to accelerate our path. It means we have to go and double our investments in renewables,” he said.
IRENA’s report said additional investment in renewables can achieve substantial savings, including minimizing losses caused by climate change as a result of inaction.
“Savings could amount to between $1.6 trillion and $3.7 trillion annually by 2030, three to seven times higher than investment costs for the energy transformation,” the report said.
Electricity from renewable sources, mainly solar and wind, will supply 57 percent of global power by the end of the current decade, up from just 26 percent currently, IRENA said.
The falling costs of renewable energy has greatly enhanced its contribution.
Over the past 10 years, solar costs have dived by 90 percent and wind turbine prices have halved in the same period, IRENA said.


Big oil feels the heat on climate as industry leader promises: ‘We will be different’

Updated 22 January 2020

Big oil feels the heat on climate as industry leader promises: ‘We will be different’

  • Trump singles out ‘prophets of doom’ for attack
  • Greenpeace told the Davos gathering that the world’s largest banks, funds and insurance companies had invested $1.4 trillion in fossil fuel companies since the Paris climate deal

LONDON: Teenage environmental activist Greta Thunberg slammed inaction over climate change as the global oil industry found itself under intense scrutiny on the opening day of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

The teenage campaigner went head to head with US President Donald Trump, who dismissed climate “prophets of doom” in his speech.
She in turn shrugged off the US president’s pledge to join the economic forum’s initiative to plant 1 trillion trees to help capture carbon dioxide.
“Planting trees is good, of course, but it’s nowhere near enough,” Thunberg said. “It cannot replace mitigation. We need to start listening to the science and treat this crisis with the importance it deserves,” the 17-year-old said.
The 50th meeting of the World Economic Forum was dominated by the global threat posed by climate change and the carbon economy.
The environmental focus of Davos 2020 caps a year when carbon emissions from fossil fuels hit a record high, and the devastating effects of bushfires in Australia and other climate disasters dominated the news.
Oil company executives from the Gulf and elsewhere are in the spotlight at this year’s Davos meeting as they come under increased pressure to demonstrate how they are reducing their carbon footprint.
“We are not only fighting for our industry’s life but fighting for people to understand the things that we are doing,” said Vicki Hollub, CEO of Occidental, the US-based oil giant with extensive oil operations in the Gulf. “As an industry when we could be different — we will be different.”

‘Planting trees is good, but nowhere near enough,’ activist Greta Thunberg told Davos. (Shutterstock)

She said the company was getting close to being able to sequester significant volumes of CO2 in the US Permian Basin, the heartland of the American shale oil industry which is increasingly in competition with the conventional oil producers of the Arabian Gulf.
“The Permian Basin has the capacity to store 150 gigatons of CO2. That would be 28 years of emissions in the US. That’s the prize for us and that’s the opportunity. People say if you’re sequestering in an oil reservoir then you are producing more oil, but the reality is that it takes more CO2 to inject into a reservoir than the barrel of oil that it makes come out,” Hollub said.
The challenge Occidental and other oil companies face is to make investors understand what is happening in this area of carbon sequesteration, she added.
The investment community at Davos is also looking hard at the oil industry in the face of mounting investor concerns.
Greenpeace told the Davos gathering that the world’s largest banks, funds and insurance companies had invested $1.4 trillion in fossil fuel companies since the Paris climate deal. It accused some of these groups of failing to live up to the World Economic Forum goal of “improving the state of the world.”