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More than 110 countries have signed a pledge at COP28 to triple global renewable capacity and double the rate of energy efficiency measures by 2030.

These include a number of major economies including the US, the EU, Japan, Canada, Australia, South Africa and Chile. While supporting the renewable energy commitment, China and India have yet to sign up to the overall pledge.

Those who have will now work to get the pledge included in the final cover text agreed by all nations at the end of COP.

“With a quantifiable target of 11,000 GW of renewables capacity by 2030, this is a step up from vague net-zero goals far in the future”, said Joyce Lee from the Global Wind Energy Council. Current global renewables capacity stands at around 3,400 GW.

‘Most important lever’

Massively increasing renewable energy capacity is seen as the best way to achieve Paris Agreement climate targets.

The International Renewable Energy Agency, the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the COP presidency all agree that tripling renewable capacity by 2030 is needed to keep temperature rise below 1.5C. Indeed the IEA describes it as the “single most important lever” to reduce CO2 emissions.

The vast majority of additional capacity – about 90% – is expected to come from wind and solar, which have been growing exponentially for the best part of two decades. In the last seven years, global solar generation has increased five times over and wind generation 2.5 times.

‘Entirely feasible’

Despite the specific target laid out in the pledge, it includes no provisions for enforcing action to ensure the targets are achieved. But given solar and wind’s rapid growth in recent years and major economies’ ambitious plans to ramp up generation, experts said the targets are entirely realistic.

“China is well on the way to delivering its previous pledge of 1,200 GW of renewables by 2030 up to six years early, so for China to treble its cumulative efforts by 2030 is entirely feasible, given the phenomenal momentum that is already well underway”, said Tim Buckley at Climate Energy Finance. 

Given the Inflation Reduction Act stimulus package, he said the same was true of the US under a Biden presidency. The same could not be said if Trump were to be re-elected. 

India has already announced plans to triple renewable energy capacity.

Indeed Sonia Dunlop from the Global Solar Council said solar alone could deliver 8,000 GW of the overall 11,000 GW renewable target.