Jun 4, 2024 - Energy & Environment

IEA: Countries should commit to "explicit" renewable targets

Animated illustration of a shrug emoji made out of electricity.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

If countries really like renewable power, they should put a ring on it.

Why it matters: The International Energy Agency finds most nations lack explicit plans in their official pledges under the Paris Agreement.

  • Inclusion in these formal — albeit non-binding — submissions could add weight to the consensus goal in last year's United Nations climate talks, which aim to triple global capacity by 2030.

The big picture: Thus far, only 14 of the 194 "nationally determined contributions" include "explicit targets" for installed renewables capacity by 2030, IEA said in a new report.

  • The agency said revised NDCs countries are supposed to submit next year will be an "important opportunity" to show plans to act on COP28 renewables goals.

Threat level: Currently, the renewable hopes of countries are stronger than what's in their NDCs — but still collectively short of the tripling target, IEA finds.

  • The sum of all combined "ambitions" — that is, firm policies and looser plans — would still fall short of the tripling pledge if fully implemented, getting 70% of the way there.

Zoom in: The world added almost 560 gigawatts of renewable generating capacity last year, up 64% year over year.

  • But nearly two-thirds of that growth was in China, per the IEA analysis; that calls for wider acceleration and offers policy ideas to achieve it.

The bottom line: "This report makes clear that the tripling target is ambitious but achievable — though only if governments quickly turn promises into plans of action," IEA boss Fatih Birol said in a statement.

Go deeper