The world needs to spend $131 trillion on the energy transition by 2050 to leap through “a window that’s closing fast” to hit Paris targets on global heating, said the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena).
The agency’s director general Francesco La Camera issued a stark warning that “we are heading in the wrong direction” as Irena unveiled its latest World Energy Transitions Outlook, which charts a path to hitting the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting temperature rise to 1.5 degrees C.
Irena wants global energy transition investment to rise by 30% over currently planned levels to an average of $4.4trn annually to mid-century.
That would help fund a transformed energy system with more than ten times the renewable capacity installed today – hitting 27,700GW by 2050 – accounting for 90% of all electricity supplies, with power accounting for more than 50% of final energy consumption, up from 21% now.
Green hydrogen would play a huge role in decarbonising industry and transport under Irena’s scenario, with production of the key energy transition fuel consuming 30% of all power by 2050. On the flip side, there would be a 75% fall in fossil fuel consumption.
La Camera said: “The window of opportunity to achieve the 1.5°C Paris Agreement goal is closing fast. The recent trends show that the gap between where we are and where we should be is not decreasing but widening.
“We need a drastic acceleration of energy transitions to make a meaningful turnaround. Time will be the most important variable to measure our efforts.”
The Irena chief slammed an imbalance in post-Covid stimulus funding that he said continues to heavily favour carbon consumption, but added that there are promising signs of investors fleeing fossil investments for greener alternatives.