Article / 16 Jan, 2019
Countries that Can Harness Renewables Set to Benefit Most - Global Commission

UN Climate Change News, 16 January 2019 - Climate action taken by the international community to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement will reshape the geopolitics of the world to benefit those countries that are actively promoting clean, renewable energy.

This is the key finding of a report this month compiled by the Global Commission on the Geopolitics of Energy Transformation and presented to this year's Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

Nations are investing in renewable energy both to clean up the air of polluted cities, and so that they can acheive the central goal of the Paris Agreement, which is to limit the global average temperature rise to as close as possible to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

“Countries that are able to take advantage of new renewable energy technologies can expect to enhance their global influence and reach”, the Commission says, which will lead to “changes in the relative position of states, the emergence of new energy leaders, more diverse energy actors, changed trade relationships and the emergence of new alliances.” 

The Global Commission on the Geopolitics of Energy Transformation is an independent initiative that was launched during the IRENA Assembly in January 2018.

Its purpose is to examine how the large-scale shift to renewable energy is disrupting the global energy system, impacting economies and changing the political dynamics within and between countries.

According to report, the energy security and independence of more countries will be guaranteed by the transition to clean tech, as renewable energy sources (notably sun and wind) are available in one form or another in most countries, unlike fossil fuels, which are concentrated in specific geographical areas.

Countries rich in metals and minerals (e.g. cobalt, lithium, nickel, zinc), which are essential for the energy transition, are set to become leaders in technological innovation and global energy transformation, thus creating new economic and commercial relationships.

The report also details how major corporations are driving change as they seek to they take climate action in line with the Paris Agreement. For example, investor groups such as DivestInvest and the NGO Climate Action 100+ have successfully worked with companies to reduce their carbon footprint.

And at COP24, the UN Climate Change Conference last year in Poland, a group of 415 investors, representing over USD 32 trillion in assets, called on governments to put a price on carbon, abolish fossil fuel subsidies, and phase out thermal coal power.

Importantly, the investors expressed their full support for the Paris Agreement, providing a clear indication that the energy sector will eventually shift to low carbon - a trend that urgently needs to be accelerated for a future safe from the worst ravages of climate change, which include ever more frequent and severe droughts, storms and floods.

To read the relevant IRENA press release, see here

To read the report, "A New World, the Geopolitics of the Energy Transformation" see here