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IRENA: Renewable energy production must be at the heart of emission reductions - 23 November

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The REthinking 2015 report from IRENA (International Renewable Energy Agency) states that efforts to limit global temperature rise must be spearheaded by renewable energy production.

By achieving a 36% share of renewable energy by 2030, half of all emission reductions needed to maintain a two-degree Celsius trajectory can be met. In unison with implementing energy efficiency measures, these emissions reductions can be fully achieved.

The energy sector accounts for more than two-thirds of global greenhouse emissions, which highlights the need to focus our approach towards the energy sector to combat irreversible climate change. A renewable energy future with increased energy efficiency is the most effective way to limit global temperature rise, and would require a six-fold increase in current renewable energy uptake, which would take global annual investment to $500bn up to 2020, and to $900bn between 2021 and 2030.

The report highlights five actions necessary for this sustainable energy future: strengthening policy commitments, mobilising investments, building institutional capacity, linking renewables to Sustainable Development Goals and enhancing regional engagement. Since the renewable energy sector employs 7.7 million people worldwide, jobs could also see a significant rise as a result of these sustainable measures. As more jobs per unit of electricity are generated than coal or gas, employment levels could exceed 24 million by 2030 if a 36% share of renewables is achieved.

Having demonstrated environmental and financial significance, the question now remains as to when, rather than if, the world transitions to a renewable energy future.

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