There is progress on global climate action, but is it enough?
“The IRENA Outlook makes clear that the window of opportunity is narrow,” said IRENA Director-General Francesco La Camera, presenting findings from the World Energy Transitions Outlook to the Agency’s Permanent Representatives at the third “Renewables Talk”. The meeting, co-hosted by the UAE and moderated by the country’s Permanent Representative to IRENA H.E. Dr. Nawal Al Hosany, presented an opportunity for IRENA’s Permanent Representatives to share unique examples and experiences from their countries in their journeys towards carbon neutrality.
Following the Director-General’s opening remarks, participants heard from the Permanent Representatives of the Philippines and of the Republic of Korea, and their national experts, as they presented their national plans and experience to date with the energy transition.
“The clean energy scenario allows the entry of highly efficient energy technologies, electric vehicles and energy efficiency improvements across all sectors,” said H.E. Ms Hjayceelyn M. Quintana, Permanent Representative of the Philippines to IRENA, “The Philippines is committed to early action to put the country at a low-carbon development trajectory to avoid future emissions.”
“As our economy grows and expands, the electricity sector will support growth and development while addressing rising GHG simultaneously,” she added.
The Ambassador’s remarks were followed by an overview from Mr. Felix William B. Fuentebella Undersecretary at the Department of Energy in the Philippines, highlighting initiatives aimed at increasing renewable energy adoption in the country, including strengthening existing energy infrastructure and developing green energy auction programs to catalyse renewable energy investments. The Philippines plans to reach 20 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2040.
Participants also had the opportunity to hear from H.E. Mr. Youngwoo Kwon Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea to IRENA. The Permanent Representative underscored Korea’s strong commitment to decarbonisation, stating that there is a “national consensus to move full steam ahead with the vision of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.” His Excellency’s remarks were followed by a presentation from Mr. Sungmoon Jung, Director of the Global Project Division at the Korea Energy Agency who outlined Korea’s energy policies and plans, including improving energy efficiency across all sectors and increasing the country’s reliance on clean power and hydrogen.
Mr. Jung also presented specific actions and projects under the country’s “Green New Deal” including turning public facilities into zero-energy buildings, establishing a smart grid for more efficient energy management, promoting renewable energy use and establishing low-carbon and green industrial complexes.
Following the presentations, the floor was open to remarks from other Permanent Representatives in attendance. For his part, H.E. Mr. Franz-Michael Skjold Mellbin, Permanent Representatives of Denmark pointed out that despite many countries committing to building sustainable economies, the weight of current investments in the energy sector are still not “green,” highlighting the need for commitments that are closer in time to allow for measurable success as the energy transition moves forward.
Participants also heard from H.E. Mr. Alvaro Ceriani, Permanent Representative of Uruguay; H.E. Mr. Ernst Peter Fischer, Permanent Representative of Germany; H.E. Nicola Lener, Permanent Representative of Italy; and Mr. Wisdom Togobo, Director of Renewable and Alternative Energy at the Ministry of Energy in Ghana. The Permanent Representatives lauded the Agency’s commitment to promoting dialogue and cooperation between its members. In this context, Director-General La Camera offered his concluding remarks, stressing the importance of the Agency’s Collaborative Frameworks in facilitating collaboration at the regional and international level.