OPINION | CLIMATE CHANGE
By Brian K. Katabazi
The 2017 publication of the renewable energy 21(REN21) status report indicates a smooth global energy transition showing extra connected renewable energy capacity, rapid dropping costs specifically for wind power and solar PV and the decoupling of economic growth and energy carbon dioxide emissions for the third year running.
There has emerged a pattern alteration away from a world run on fossil fuels to the newly creative and sustainable means of meeting the global energy needs through deploying methods like embracing of exciting new business models, better integrated sectoral planning and the more innovative use of friendly/ enabling technologies.
Investment in the renewable energy capacity has been progressing smoothly, doubling the investment in fossil fuel, producing capacity and currently stands at $249.8b. This has added extra renewable energy capacity every year than in net capacity generated from fossil fuels globally.
The recently connected renewable power as of 2016 archives indicates that 161 gigawatts was added, which advanced the world total by nearly 9%, compared to 2015. This increase was boosted by solar PV as the leading contributor accounting to around 47% of the entire added power capacity with wind power in second position standing at 34% and hydro power at 15.5%. Countries such as Germany and Denmark effectively achieved peaks of 86.3% and 140% separately.
Countries, states, cities and power corporations have devoted 100% to renewable power goals. This has been attributed to the fact that renewable energy guarantees business and economic sense as well as public health and environment benefits. Businesses that joined renewable energy 100% a worldwide enterprise of businesses committed to obtaining the operations with 100% renewable power were 34 in total in 2016.
This is an absolute indication of how the renewable energy industry keeps growing annually. Seventy thousand two hundred (70,200) communities totalling to a population of 225 million people are devoted to bringing down emissions to 40% by 2030 through advancing energy effectiveness and renewable power deployment.
This arrangement is being managed and engaged under the rubric of covenant of mayors. In addition, 48 countries that convened for the climate change meeting in Morocco in 2016 committed themselves to attaining 100% renewable power supply in their countries as a way of reducing global warming. This is a great step towards containing global climate change.
However, the positive developments in the renewable energy investments, the rate at which the transition is happening does not favour achieving the goals put in place in the 2015 adopted Paris agreement. The agreement requires countries/ nations to keep global temperature rise below two degrees Celsius matched to the pre-industrial heights, but aiming at holding it at a safer limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius.
In order to achieve this, 117 countries embraced nationally determined contributions and the ones that included renewable power goals were 55 with 107 nations that featured renewable energy efficiency goals. If the right policies are formulated and implemented globally, the energy sector will be emissions free by mid-century.
In January 2017, China declared the will and commitment to abolish a hundred plus coal fired power plants and later announced in May that it was suspending construction of new coal plants in twenty nine of the thirty two provinces. This was executed as one of the ways of quickening transition to renewable energy and this can be achieved where there is political will.
The deliberate arrangement to cancel coal powered plants and suspending those under construction and embracing renewable power plants is one of the cost-effective ways to reduce carbon dioxide emissions which pose a threat to the climate and environment. Countries globally should embrace renewable energy and disband fossil fuels and coal investments that threaten climate and the environment hence addressing the global threat of climate change.
For the case of developing nations, forests have been destroyed by the ever increasing population to get energy inform of fire wood and charcoal. This has emerged due to fact that the populace does not have alternative forms of energy generation.
According to Uganda housing and national population census report 2014, 94% of the total households depend on fire wood or charcoal for cooking and lighting. Such behaviour has led to 2% annual forest cover loss over the last 20 years (FAO, 2011). This calls for transitioning from such energy sources that are a big threat to the forests which in the long run poses fears like climate change and related negative effects.
The writer is associate director of the Centre for Energy Governance