IPCC WG III Report: Mitigation of Climate Change – Virtual dialogue on the role of renewable energy

On the occasion of the release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on mitigation of climate change in April 2022, the Global Renewables Congress and its partner organisation Bread for the World brought together representatives from parliament, civil society and the newly elected German government. Together, participants discussed the implications of the report on the global energy transformation and the role Germany plays internationally in supporting vulnerable countries to maximise the benefits of the transformation. The virtual meeting on 6th April 2022 was closed and therefore this summary does neither contain names nor affiliations.

It was stressed by all panellists that the IPCC report underlines and strengthens the urgent need for global climate action. Aiming to demonstrate leadership, the German government wants to strengthen targets to increase energy independence from oil and gas within its borders, while harnessing the benefits of increased climate action. In addition, Germany aims to push the EU and its member states towards increased ambition as well. It was stressed that, for Germany to take on its historic responsibility, the new approach the government is taking is a first step in the right direction, but ambitions need to be increased. The establishment of the 220 German embassies as ‘Climate Embassies’ underlines this effort. However, investments, support and partnerships need to be long-term in order to assist vulnerable countries in phasing out fossil fuels. By combining climate change adaptation and mitigation approaches with humanitarian aid approaches and more pro-actively working on loss and damage this assistance could be strengthened. The speed with which we will be able to decarbonise the industry sector will play a key role in our success to limit global temperature increase. The focus of many COVID recovery programmes on hydrogen production will thus be a determining factor. It is key, however, to ensure hydrogen production is green, from renewables only, and that sustainability standards are in place, especially when hydrogen trade will increase over time.

It was stressed, that we have the highest chances of success if we work together. Therefore, the importance of cross-sector alliances cannot be understated, as panellists highlighted. Especially the role of CSOs as facilitators of change and the need for enabling policies was emphasised, to increase ownership over necessary measures. Parliamentarians are playing a crucial role as brokers in this process, as they connect national policy-making to their constituencies and can help to explain the needed actions to people, stressing that solutions are contextual and depend on people and context.

“Now is the time for us as MPs to show true political leadership. In order to utilise the benefits of renewables to enhance livelihoods and mitigate climate change, we need enabling policy frameworks that connect climate and development issues, increase workforce and de-risk RE projects. With Indonesia’s G20 Presidency this year, the call for a global energy transformation became stronger than ever before and we want to take this commitment to real action.”

Hon. Mercy Barends, Member of Parliament, Indonesia in the GRC’s parliamentary bulletin, summarising the IPCC report

Key findings of IPCC 6th Assessment Report, Part III “Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change”:

  • 100% renewable energy systems can be achieved by 2050.
  • Renewables are the lowest-cost energy resources in many regions, outcompeting fossil generation.
  • Solar PV capacity grew by 170% (to 680 TWh); wind capacity grew by 70% (to 1420 TWh) from 2015 to 2019.
  • Mitigating climate change, through e.g. renewables, will enhance welfare.
  • Socio-economic benefits of the transformation outweigh the costs in most regions.
  • Policy integration is a necessary component of shifting development pathways addressing multiple objectives.
  • “If investments in coal and other fossil infrastructure continue, energy systems will be locked-in to higher emissions, making it harder to limit warming to well below 2°C.”[1]
  • “Redirecting and increasing investments to ensure a climate-safe future would require reaching an average of USD 1 trillion a year by 2030 for electricity generation as well as grids and storage, increasing to an average of above USD 2 trillion a year until 2030 in the 1.5°C scenario.”[2]

For a summary of the key results of the IPCC report on the energy system see pages 32 to 35 of the report on the website of Bread for the World.

[1] https://www.brot-fuer-die-welt.de/fileadmin/mediapool/blogs/Medina_Jaime_Fernandez/IPCC_Mitigation_final2.pdf, p. 8.

[2] Ibid., p. 47.