This article was first published by undp.org.
The energy sector, still dominated by fossil fuels, is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. We know people and nations need reliable sources of energy to power hospitals and light schools, and to safely cook, heat or cool their homes. We know we need to switch to sustainable energy. Yet despite progress, we are not on track to meet our climate goals and achieve Sustainable Development Goal 7 – universal access to clean, affordable and reliable energy.
Much more needs to be done. But the clean energy solutions that can get us there exist, and there is growing momentum to make them political and investment priorities. Here are our five reasons to be optimistic.
1) Clean energy is a smart investment
Fossil fuels used to be less expensive than cleaner energy, but this is changing. Renewables are becoming more affordable every year, and some options are now cheaper than fossil fuels. The price of solar has decreased by 89 percent since 2010. It is now cheaper to go solar than to build new coal power plants in most countries, and solar is now the cheapest electricity in history. Amid an exceptionally challenging year, and despite suffering setbacks, the renewables sector has shown some resilience.
This fall in price, coupled with technological progress and the introduction of innovative business models, means we are now at a tipping point. Energy efficiency technologies can also deliver climate benefits. The right efficiency policies could enable the world to achieve more than 40 percent of the emissions cuts needed to even without new technology.
We now need massive investment from the public and private sectors. To help catalyse this, UNDP has developed the De-risking Renewable Energy Investment framework and supports countries to create an enabling environment for large scale clean energy investments.
2) There is growing momentum for carbon neutrality[…]