Since the final gavel fell at the Lima climate talks earlier this month, discussions have centred on one question: what did the talks actually accomplish?
After two weeks of intense negotiation, governments settled on a draft text that will hopefully lead to a successful global climate deal in Paris next December. While opinions vary regarding the success or failure of the outcome, there is another story emerging outside the negotiation room.
This year’s conference represented a highly-significant shift in the positive momentum to act on climate change. While negotiators engaged in contentious debates, businesses, non-governmental organisations and local authorities stepped forward to present their own climate initiatives and committed to more action on the ground.
In this shift, renewable energy took centre stage.
According to the Nazca Climate Action portal (named after Peru’s famous geoglyphs), 319 cities and 261 companies are taking action on climate change. Of the 913 total actions recorded so far, 402 relate to energy efficiency and 242 relate to renewable energy.
Private sector initiatives – such as RE100 and the Global Investor Statement on Climate Change – have also emerged to encourage businesses and investors to phase out fossil fuels in favour of renewable energy.
National governments are following suit. Peru plans to generate 60% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2024; Chile doubled its total renewable power capacity in 2014; Germany and Sweden will be carbon-free by 2050. The list goes on, including 144 countries with renewable energy targets, 50 countries supporting a total phase-out of carbon emissions by 2050 and 100 countries supporting zero emissions by 2100.
This action, and the hope it generates for an attainable solution to climate change, is being partly fuelled by the increasingly strong business case for renewable energy. Renewable energy is now the most cost-competitive source of power in many parts of the world.
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