The Case for Leadership and Bold Choices
RENA urges global community to seize energy transition momentum at G20, COP26 and beyond
The global community is approaching a fork in the road on climate change. Growing scientific evidence suggests there may be a diminishing window of opportunity to put the world on a path to safety, and choices made now in respect to the energy transition will dictate success.
This sense of urgency offers a backdrop to upcoming G20 and COP26 discussions in Rome and Glasgow respectively, where global leaders of both developed and developing countries will engage in talks that are likely shape climate mitigation efforts for generations to come. “The era of half measures and hollow promises must end,” says UN Secretary-General António Guterres ahead of COP26, calling on leaders “to be clear in their actions”, and saying “they need to come to Glasgow with bold, time-bound, front-loaded plans to reach net zero.”
In this context, IRENA will urge the world’s decision makers to make a choice. “The scenario is very simple,” says IRENA Director-General Francesco La Camera. IRENA’s World Energy Transitions Outlook paves the way to a net-zero energy future. It translates a pathway aligned with the development and climate priorities into a clear picture of policy, finance and socio-economic shifts to maximise benefits and manage adverse impacts on the way. “Climate change was once a faraway threat that demanded attention. Now it is a present-day reality that requires immediate action,” he continues.
“Our options are simple – make the safe choices that lead us to uncertainty, or the bold choices that offer universally positive outcomes. The world is looking for leaders.”
What has long been a powerful narrative is now an undeniable fact and the choice is ours. IRENA’s ‘Our Future. Your Choice’ campaign seeks to make the opportunities and consequences of these preferences clear as we head to a key phase.
Here’s why global leaders must choose the energy transition, and they must choose it now.
The transition delivers jobs
Renewable energy is creating jobs – millions of them. Just recently IRENA’s latest edition of Renewable Energy and Jobs report published in cooperation with the International Labour Organisation, showed staggering job growth in the sector despite the challenges associated with COVID-19. More than 12 million people are employed in the sector today with half a million jobs added in 2020. Yet this is only the start. IRENA’s World Energy Transitions Outlook, suggests that by 2050 jobs in the energy sector would more than double to 122 million, relative to today’s levels by choosing a more aggressive transition pathway.