By; MATTHEW UKACHUNWA, Lagos
The journey towards climate disaster continues, unless countries make an immediate switch to efficient and renewable energy in all sectors in the wake of the Novel Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) made the recommendation in reaction to the findings of REN2’s Renewable Global Status 2020 Report released on 16th June 2020.
According to the report, growth in renewable power has been impressive over the past five years, but too little is happening in heating, cooling and transport.
Overall, global hunger for energy keeps increasing and eats up progress made in renewable energy, authors of the report said.
“Year after year, we report success after success in the renewable power sector. Indeed, renewable power has made fantastic progress. It beats all other fuels in growth and competitiveness.
“Many national and global organisations already cry victory. But our report sends a clear warning: The progress in the power sector is only a small part of the picture. And it is eaten up as the world’s energy hunger continues to increase.
“If we do not change the entire energy system, we are deluding ourselves,” Rana Adib, REN21’s Executive Director, stated.
UNEP disclosed in a news releasethat the report shows that in the heating, cooling and transport sectors, the barriers are still nearly the same as 10 years ago.
“We must also stop heating our homes and driving our cars with fossil fuels,” Adib claims, noting that there is no real disruption in the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to UNEP, in the wake of the extraordinary economic decline due to COVID-19, the International Energy Agency (IEA) predicts energy-related CO2 emissions are expected to fall by up to 8% in 2020.
IEA also said 2019 emissions were the highest ever, and the relief is only temporary, adding that meeting the Paris targets would require an annual decrease of at least 7.6% to be maintained over the next 10 years.
“Even if the lock-downs were to continue for a decade, the change would not be sufficient. At the current pace, with the current system and current market rules, it would take the world forever to come anywhere near a no-carbon system.
“Many recovery packages lock us into a dirty fossil fuel economy”Recovery packages offer a once-in-a-lifetime chance to make the shift to a low-carbon economy. But according to Adib there is a great risk for this enormous chance to be lost.
“Many of these packages include ideas that will instead lock us further into a dirty fossil fuel system. Some directly promote natural gas, coal or oil. Others, though claiming a green focus, build the roof and forget the foundation,” she says. “Take electric cars and hydrogen, for example. These technologies are only green if powered by renewables,” Adib said.