The year 2020 brought us a devastating pandemic and an economic slowdown but also some decisive moments for the global energy transition. Last year ushered in a wave of groundbreaking pledges on carbon and climate neutrality. Meanwhile, clean energy investments have proven resilient to the global economic downturn, further shrinking prices for renewable power generation equipment and the ongoing electrification of many economies. Finally, a potential game changer for the global energy transition occurred last November: After nine years of protracted negotiations, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) was signed by 15 Asian and Pacific countries. Early signs, however, suggest it will prove a mixed bag for efforts to reduce global CO2.
Autumn 2020 has seen a dramatic net-zero shift among the world’s industrial giants, with China and South Korea aiming for carbon-neutrality by 2060 and 2050, respectively, and Japan – for climate neutrality by 2050. East-Asian economies, along with the EU, are leading the global climate efforts in terms of long-term ambitions, but a closer look at energy transition progress and the climate policies reveals another potential global leader – India. Maria Pastukhova investigates.
Recently, the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) installed 25 stands with 300 bicycles on a one-month trial and at least 5,000 people registered on its SmartBikes app. Shivani Singh looks at the progress on New Delhi’s roads.
It looked as if India’s plan to power up the country using coal would be a disaster for the environment. But renewables changed the game: they currently make up 20% of the energy mix and are growing fast. L. Michael Buchsbaum explains.
While the Trump administration attempts to prop up fossil fuels, China has implemented policies to support renewable energy. The rapid expansion of solar power and investments in electric transport are pushing China’s energy transition forward, explains E.A. Crunden.
Touted as the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gas, India is steadily on its way to transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. The targets that the country has set itself are closer to being achieved and even surpassed. Sadia Sohail explains the newest study on India’s energy policy.
Emerging markets now account for the majority of growth in solar power, according to new data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). Led by China and India, these developing economies are behind dramatic recent growth in solar capacity, which expanded by 33% in 2016. Zeke Hausfather of Carbon Brief takes an in-depth look.
Stopping the growth of the coal sector makes more than just environmental sense. If a stable climate translates to fewer and less severe disasters, the financial argument for insurers is just as compelling. Dan Gocher argues that coal projects should be excluded from investments due to their contribution to climate change.
Climate change was again placed at the centre of global diplomacy as diplomats and ministers gathered in Bonn for the latest annual round of United Nations climate talks. COP23, the second “conference of the parties” since the Paris Agreement was struck, was a technical affair as countries continued to negotiate the finer details of how the agreement would work from 2020 onwards. Jocelyn Timperley of Carbon Brief covers the summit’s key outcomes.
With all of the noise around Trump and the US exit from the Paris Agreement, it’s easy to forget that other countries are taking their climate goals seriously. India has seen a huge solar boom, wind energy has been steadily increasing, and planned coal plants have been cancelled. Frances Beinecke explores India’s energy transition.