IRENA report finds slow progress made towards UN-led green energy goals

A new report published by International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has found that slow progress is being made towards green energy targets set out in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

The report, titled Tracking SDG7: The Energy Progress Report, warned that nations are falling short on almost every aspect of the UN’s SDG7, which promises to deliver access to ‘affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy’ for all citizens by 2030.

Increasing the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix was one of four sub targets in SDG7, but IRENA said that while renewables are making impressive gains in the electricity sector, these are not being matched in transportation and heating – which together account for 80% of global energy consumption.

IRENA’s study concluded that the share of renewable energy in the world’s total final energy consumption went up from 16.7% in 2010 to 17.5% in 2015, with 9.6% of this coming from modern renewables such as geothermal, solar, hydropower and wind.

The renewable energy advocacy body predicts that the contribution of renewable energy to total final energy consumption will rise to 21% by 2030, thanks to the rapid rollout of wind and solar capacity across global electricity systems. However, it threw caution to the wind by pointing to countries where progress has been ‘slow’ and ‘challenging’.

There is an urgent need for action on all technologies, especially on renewables and energy efficiency, which are key for delivering on three critical goals – energy access, climate mitigation and lower air pollution,” said Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA).