More than 60 countries back deal to triple renewable energy this decade

More than 60 countries have said they back a deal spearheaded by the European Union, United States and United Arab Emirates to triple renewable energy this decade and shift away from coal, two officials familiar with the matter told Reuters on Thursday. The EU, U.S. and UAE have been rallying support for the pledge ahead of the UN’s annual COP28 climate negotiations to be held Nov. 30 to Dec. 12 in Dubai, and will call for its inclusion in the final outcome of a gathering of world leaders on Dec. 2, the officials said.

Some major emerging economies like Nigeria, South Africa and Vietnam, developed countries like Australia, Japan and Canada, and others including Peru, Chile, Zambia and Barbados have said they will join the pledge, the officials told Reuters.

A draft of the pledge, reviewed by Reuters, would also commit those who sign it to doubling the world’s annual rate of improving energy efficiency to 4 per cent per year until 2030.

The draft says the greater use of renewables must be accompanied by “the phase down of unabated coal power,” including ending the financing of new coal-fired power plants.

One of the officials told Reuters negotiations with China and India to join the pledge are “quite advanced,” although neither has yet agreed to join.

Scientists say both actions – rapidly expanding clean energy and quickly reducing the burning of CO2-emitting fossil fuels in the power sector – are vital if the world is to avert more severe climate change.

The officials said an early show of support for tripling renewable energy and moving away from coal will create momentum and set a positive tone ahead of the days of tense negotiations that are expected at the climate conference.