At COP28, governments agreed to triple global renewable capacity by 2030. This, alongside doubling energy efficiency, is possibly the most powerful action the world can take in the transition away from fossil fuels this critical decade.
To guide efforts towards the goal, governments need a clear roadmap and information on investment and climate finance needs, while civil society needs benchmarks to hold governments to account.
This report breaks down what a 1.5ºC-aligned renewables rollout would look like at the regional level and calculate the associated investment needs.
In keeping with the tripling target and the Paris Agreement’s temperature goal, global renewable capacity needs to grow to 11.5 TW by 2030 – up 3.4x from 2022 levels.
To achieve this, different regions scale at different rates relative to their current renewable capacity, driven by the pace of fossil phase-out needed and future electricity demand growth.
The report finds:
- Asia makes the biggest overall contribution, providing around half (47%) of the 8.1 TW of renewable capacity additions needed globally by 2030.
This represents a 3.6x regional growth rate relative to 2022 levels.
Asia is the only region which is broadly on track to triple renewables in line with 1.5ºC by 2030. This is primarily driven by growth in China and India which compensates for laggards like South Korea, where renewable capacity is set to grow at half the rate of the region as a whole.
However, the spree of coal-fired power plant construction in China and India is a huge concern. If this continues, it will either jeopardise a 1.5ºC-aligned power sector transition, or create large-scale stranded assets.
- The OECD provides the next biggest share of global capacity additions at around a third (36%).
Renewables in the region scale at a slower rate of 3.1x due to lower electricity demand growth and a higher level of existing renewable capacity installed in 2022.
Based on current policies, the OECD will fall around a third short of this target. Addressing this shortfall would close around 60% of the 2 TW global gap between forecast renewable growth and a 1.5°C-aligned tripling. There is particularly slow growth in Japan, where capacity will grow only 50% over the decade.
- Sub-Saharan Africa scales relatively quickly at 6.6x due to low levels of existing renewable capacity and high energy access needs.
Electricity demand is forecast to grow 66% per capita between 2020-2030 in the region, resulting in a renewables scale up rate that is double the global average. Achieving such a rapid renewables rollout in Sub-Saharan Africa would require significantly upscaled international climate finance.
$12 trillion needed to triple renewables in line with 1.5°C
Overall, tripling renewables in line with the 1.5°C temperature limit would require $12 trillion of investment in the power system up until 2030 – an average of $2 trillion per year starting in 2024.
Two-thirds ($8 trillion) would be invested in the installation of renewables, while around a third ($4 trillion) would be for the grid and storage infrastructure needed to support renewables. Without modernised, flexible and expanded grids, there can be no tripling.
Investment in renewables and grid expansion needs to be massively upscaled to ensure a 1.5ºC aligned transition in the power sector. In 2023, global investment reached $1 trillion, around half of annual investment needed on average between 2024-2030.
Over 2024-2030, the world is on track to invest $6.6 trillion in renewables and grids, leaving an investment shortfall of just over $5 trillion. However, the world is also set to invest over $6 trillion in fossil fuels under current policies. Shifting this money to renewables and grids could cover the investment gap entirely and put the power sector on track for 1.5ºC.
Some regions are at risk of falling behind in the effort to triple renewables due to a chronic lack of investment and international support.
This is particularly the case in Sub-Saharan Africa, where annual investment in renewables and grid expansion was around $20 billion in 2023 – just a fifth of the ~$100 billion needed each year between 2024-2030.
Without an urgent and rapid increase in finance to support renewables deployment in Africa, millions will miss out on the benefits of the renewables revolution – cleaner air, cheaper power, and increased energy security.
As governments come together to negotiate a new climate finance goal for the post-2025 period, much more needs to be done to mobilise investment in renewables and grid expansion in less wealthy countries. Without this, the pledge to triple renewables made at COP28 will ring increasingly hollow.
While scaling up renewables is key, emissions will only fall if they displace fossil fuels in the power system. As well as investing in renewables, governments must take action to end public support and subsidises for fossil fuels. COP28 fired the starting gun on a global race to triple renewables by 2030. This report sets out a roadmap at the regional level to guide the way.
Submission to the Australian Treasury consultation on the Petroleum Resource Rent Tax
As the gas industry in Australia has grown exponentially, the profit taxes it pays to the government have proportionally plummeted, presenting an opportunity to change this regime. Here, we respond to the Australian Government Treasury consultation on the Petroleum Resource Rent Tax (PRRT) – anti-avoidance provisions and clarifying treatment of ‘exploration’ and Mining, Quarrying or Prospecting Rights.
COP28 initiatives will only reduce emissions if followed through
Few of the sectoral initiatives announced during COP28 will meaningfully contribute to closing the emissions gap. Many of them lack either the ambition, clarity, coverage or accountability needed to really make a difference.
Unabated: the Carbon Capture and Storage 86 billion tonne carbon bomb aimed at derailing a fossil phase-out
The climate talks at COP28 have centred around the need for a fossil fuel phase-out. Our analysis quantifies the risk posed by restricting a phase-out commitment to only ‘unabated’ fossil fuels.
No change to warming as fossil fuel endgame brings focus onto false solutions
The CAT's annual warming estimate has risen by 0.1˚C to 2.5˚C. The estimate is largely influenced by weak existing targets rather than shifts triggered by updated Nationally Determined Contributions.
When will global greenhouse gas emissions peak?
The IPCC says peaking before 2025 is a critical step to keep the 1.5°C limit within reach. With emissions set to rise in 2023, this leaves limited time to act. To assess if we can meet this milestone, we look at when global emissions might peak, as well as what we can do to get there in time.
Wind and solar benchmarks for a 1.5°C world
This report presents a detailed methodology for determining the amount of wind and solar capacity that is required for a country to align with the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C temperature goal. While the focus of the report is the method, it includes illustrative benchmarks for Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Germany, South Africa.
A 1.5°C future is possible: getting fossil fuels out of the Philippine power sector
The Philippines is also one of the fastest-growing developing countries: poverty is in decline, access to energy is rising and, with that, demand for energy services. However, fossil fuels still dominate the energy system, accounting for 78% of power generation in 2022. This report sets out what the Philippines government needs to do to get the country’s power sector onto a 1.5˚C compatible emissions pathway, replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy.
State of Climate Action 2023
This report finds that global efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C are failing across the board, with recent progress made on every indicator – except electric vehicle sales – lagging behind the pace and scale needed to address the climate crisis.
Emissions impossible: Unpacking CSIRO GISERA Beetaloo Middle Arm fossil gas emissions estimates
This report provides an independent evaluation of the CSIRO and GISERA assessments of the potential greenhouse gas emissions that would result from the exploitation of the Beetaloo fossil shale gas reserves.
Adjusting 1.5°C climate change mitigation pathways in light of adverse new information
This study uses an integrated assessment model to explore how 1.5°C pathways could adjust in light of new adverse information, such as a reduced 1.5°C carbon budget, or slower-than-expected low-carbon technology deployment.