International collaboration is key to accelerating the transition to a sustainable energy future

The intergovernmental organization, the International Energy Agency (IEA), in its “Breakthrough Agenda Report 2022”, asserts that international collaboration will be essential for a successful transition to sustainability, given the global scale and the rapid pace of necessary change.

“Action by governments and companies individually is necessary, but not sufficient. Well-targeted international collaboration can make low-carbon transitions faster, less difficult and less costly.

“By aligning and coordinating actions internationally, countries and businesses can accelerate innovation, create stronger signals for investment and greater economies of scale, and establish a level playing field, the where appropriate, to ensure that competition is a driver of transition and not a brake,” it says.

“International assistance, funding and sharing of best practices can support widespread adoption of effective policies and available technologies. International infrastructure can enable cross-border flows of clean energy. Net-zero global emissions could be delayed for decades,” the IEA points out.

The IEA’s Breakthrough Agenda Report 2022 focuses on actions in five sectors – electricity, hydrogen, road transport, steel and agriculture, which account for more than 50% of global greenhouse gas emissions greenhouse, and for which the signatories have so far agreed on targets under the breakthrough program.

“Clean technologies and sustainable solutions are not yet the most affordable or accessible options in these sectors, except in the electricity sector, and even in the electricity sector, it is not yet the case in all countries.

“Achieving the Breakthrough Program goals in these sectors will require concerted action by governments, businesses and civil society, while allowing all countries to move faster, dramatically increasing the chances of avoiding low levels. more dangerous climate change and meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals,” the IEA says.

The electricity sector represents approximately 13 Gt of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e), or 23%, of total emissions, which have increased by around 10% since 2010 and must fall by more than 50% by 2030.

Investments will need to increase by 25% each year, reaching $2 trillion per year by 2030.

The production and use of hydrogen, meanwhile, represents about 0.9 Gt of CO2e, or 1.5% of total emissions.

The production of renewable and low-carbon hydrogen currently represents less than 1% of total production. Targets and commitments to use low-carbon, renewable hydrogen equivalent to 3% of current total hydrogen demand. Currently, 15% of ammonia and 28% of methanol are traded internationally, the IEA report says.

“Governments and businesses should coordinate internationally to increase commitments to the use of low-carbon, renewable hydrogen in sectors where hydrogen is currently used, supported by specific policies and purchase agreements to collectively send a strong demand signal and mobilize investment in production.

“In new priority application sectors, countries should share learning to accelerate early deployment. This should be done in a way that ensures a level playing field in international trade,” recommends the IEA.

In addition, the road transport sector represents approximately 6 Gt of CO2e, or 10% of total emissions, which have increased by 13% since 2010 and must decrease by almost 33% by 2030.

“Public charging infrastructure needs to increase tenfold by 2030. If major markets align their policies with zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) sales by 2035, cost parity between ZEVs and motor vehicles internal combustion could be reached several years earlier.

“Furthermore, more than 60% of the vehicles added to the roads in Africa each year are imported second-hand vehicles,” the IEA report points out.

Meanwhile, the steel sector represents around 3 Gt of CO2e, or 5% of total emissions, which have increased by around 15% since 2010 and must fall by around 25% by 2030.

The global average intensity of direct steel production emissions must fall by around 30% by 2030, the report points out, adding that 114 million tonnes of high-emitting conventional plants are currently in operation or in phase. of planning.

Meanwhile, agriculture and related land use accounts for about 10 Gt of CO2e, or 17%, of total emissions, including approximately 7 Gt of CO2e come from direct on-farm emissions.

On-farm emissions have increased by 0.6% per year since 2000 and are expected to fall by around 20% by 2030.

Additionally, 27% of all emissions from agriculture and land use can be attributed to agricultural products that are traded internationally, the IEA notes.

According to the IEA, there is a significant opportunity and need to strengthen international collaboration and current efforts fall far short of harnessing the full potential of collaboration to accelerate progress.

“In every sector, collaboration must go beyond sharing best practices and include a deliberate alignment of actions in areas such as technology development, standards and trade, complemented by strong support for developing countries.

“Participation needs to expand to include more countries in each sector, to make this a truly effective global effort. The collaboration needs to be sustained for years to have its full impact, not be started and stopped sporadically,” the agency said.

“Serious, sustained and targeted international collaboration of this kind could significantly increase the chances of limiting the rise in global temperatures to 1.5°C. [above preindustrial levels]while contributing positively to economic development.

“This will help generate 14 million additional jobs and prevent two million premature deaths worldwide from air pollution by 2030,” says the IEA, based on the findings of its report. 2021.

Leaders of signatories, 44 countries plus the European Union, which account for more than 70% of global gross domestic product, pledged at Conference of the Parties 26 to work together to make clean technologies and sustainable solutions the option the most affordable, the most accessible and the most attractive in each of the emitting sectors before the end of this decade, he adds.

“Countries should strive to agree on the international forums and institutions through which they will take forward each of the recommendations for collaborative action contained in this report, and should then invest in these forums both politically and financially.

“Existing institutional frameworks should be used whenever appropriate to the task. This can help establish the institutional foundations necessary for strong and sustained international collaboration during this decade,” the IEA says.

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