Rapid uptake of clean technologies across the globe will be necessary to avoid catastrophic climate change, according to #Mission2020. In this briefing we look at three big barriers that will need to be overcome
Businesses and governments only have three years to act to steer away from a course that will lock in the most devastating impacts of climate change, according to Mission 2020, a campaign launched last month by a group convened by Christiana Figueres, the former UN climate chief.
A report by the Potsdam Institute on Climate Impact Research released at the same time sets out six critical milestones that will have to be achieved by 2020. Number one on the list is that renewables must make up at least 30% of the world’s electricity supply by the turn of the decade, up from 23.7% in 2015, and no new coal-fired power plants are built.
Renewable energy is booming, and 138.5 gigawatts were added to global power capacity in 2016, up 9% from the year before, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. However, as Figueres pointed out, the required renewables paradigm shift has not happened yet, and there are many barriers to be overcome.
In this briefing we examine three of them. One is the lack of capacity of national electricity grids to absorb the new renewables generation (see Spotlight falls on energy storage. A second is the hotly debated question of whether biomass is a carbon-neutral and sustainable substitute for coal (see Biomass a burning issue for climate). Our third feature looks at efforts to get investment in clean energy flowing to developing countries (see Unlocking the trillions for poor countries).
As Figueres says, the clock is ticking. There is not a moment to waste.
Christiana Figueres Potsdam Institute on Climate Impact Research climate