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IRENA at COP26: Increasing Momentum for Urgent Energy Transition Action

15 November 2021| Source - IRENA

After a two-year hiatus due to the global pandemic, COP26 yielded important results, while at the same time leaving no doubt that even more ambitious action will be needed if we have any hope of holding temperature rise to 1.5° C.

As always, COP is an ecosystem made up of formal negotiations amongst Parties, thematic events hosted by the COP presidency and the High-Level Climate Champions of COP25 and COP26, official side events organized under the auspices of the UNFCCC, and events held in the pavilions of governments, business and civil society. As a result, the success of a COP can be measured not only in the outcome of the official negotiations, but as the sum of raised ambitions amongst all of those who participate.

IRENA’s presence at the COP was significant, despite the severe limitation of the in-person delegation size due to health consideration. Our objective was to showcase evidence of how the global energy transition is progressing, where momentum is increasing, but also where more work urgently needs to be done. In addition to a full schedule of bi-lateral meetings with the Agency’s Members and other partners, the following describes some of the highlights from IRENA’s two weeks in Glasgow.

Three major energy-themed mini-conferences took place 4-5 November within the blue zone of the COP, under the auspices of the COP Presidency, the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action, and the EU.

IRENA is the focal point for the energy thematic group within the Marrakech Partnership, and was the lead agency responsible convening this year’s Energy Action Event: Disrupting the Status Quo: Accelerating the Global Energy Transition for a 1.5°C Future.

This event, aimed at catalyzing and showcasing accelerated action to meet the goals of both the Paris Agreement and SDG 7 on sustainable energy, brought the Climate Action Pathway for Energy  to life with sessions on: the latest developments in decarbonizing the power sector; the coming-of-age of green hydrogen in hard to abate sectors; what energy system change means in practice; reshaping fossil fuel economies as they transition to renewable energy futures; and how to ensure the energy transition puts people first and leaves no one behind.

The event featured a broad spectrum of speakers from different areas of the energy sector and from around the world, including representation from virtually every continent. Youth representation provided a powerful call to action. Panel sessions had one or two representatives from national governments presenting effective policies in their countries or regions, followed by discussion between private sector, sub- national and civil society stakeholders who shared not only their successes, but the challenges and barriers they face, thereby challenging those who have the power to unblock conflict and drive momentum.

IRENA, together with the World Economic Forum also launched the Enabling Measures Roadmap for Green Hydrogen, which aims to empower policymakers to prioritize policies for green hydrogen and accelerate its deployment at the international level in pursuit of a net zero energy system aligned with a climate-safe 1.5°C scenario.

Also on November 4, the COP26 UK Presidency event Making the Global Transition to Clean Power a Reality, convened by the Energy Transition Council in Plenary, provided a platform for senior figures from governments and international organisations to announce and discuss new measures to scale up clean power more quickly, shift away from coal and ensure access to affordable, sustainable energy for all. IRENA chaired a discussion about scaling up clean power to deliver sustainable energy for all.

On 5 November, during the EU Energy Day, IRENA and EU co-organized a session on the Potential of Offshore Energy and Green Hydrogen to Power the Global Energy Transition where IRENA’s Director General spoke about the potential of offshore wind and green hydrogen as a secure, clean and economically viable option to drive the decarbonisation of the energy sector.

To read full article click IRENA at COP26: Increasing Momentum for Urgent Energy Transition Action

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