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December 7, 2020 – With the Paris Agreement celebrating its fifth anniversary this week, all eyes are on the world’s governments to urgently scale-up climate action.

In a renewed call to action, over 100 leading renewable energy players, including the World Future Council, as members of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Coalition for Action, urge governments to correct course. By placing a renewables-based energy transition at the heart of an economic recovery from COVID-19, governments can foster economic resilience and secure a climate-safe future.

Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, governments have demonstrated their capacity to mobilise efforts and recovery packages at historically unprecedented levels. While some countries have announced more ambitious climate commitments as part of their measures to achieve sustainable and resilient economies post-COVID-19, many others have yet to take decisive actions to move towards a green recovery.

To date, G20 countries have committed at least USD 233 billion in supporting the fossil fuel sector and fossil fuel-dependent industries. These billions represent a missed opportunity to accelerate the energy transition and to power long-term job creation and investment opportunities at a time when we need them most.  In their latest article on the EU’s green recovery programme which serves as the start to a series of analysis papers, Anna Skowron and Stefan Schurig, Senior Policy Officer and Senior Advisor at the World Future Council, point out that recovery packages of the EU and Germany still lack ambition and clear commitment for renewables and against fossil fuels. Uncertainty about the level of “greenness” of hydrogen and e-mobility strategy is still largely prevalent.

The Covid-19 pandemic is likely to lead to the largest economic collapse since the Great Depression. With advancing climate change and increasing extreme weather events, crises of global scale are likely to occur more frequently in the future. Any recovery packages responding to the current pandemic therefore need to take a strong stance for green, low-carbon development. Building back better must mean fast-tracking the energy transition”, says Anna Skowron, Senior Policy Officer, World Future Council, Member of the IRENA Coalition for Action.

Building on its previous call to action released in April 2020, the Coalition for Action now urges governments to reset their recovery priorities through the following six actions:

  1. Re-evaluate stimulus measures and correct course to ensure a green recovery in line with global climate objectives.
  2. Raise policy ambitions and clarify long-term plans for renewable generation and consumption, both centralised and decentralised.
  3. Ensure energy markets can deliver continuity and stimulate investment and growth in renewables.
  4. Prioritise renewable energy as a key component of industrial policies.
  5. Align labour and education policies with a just energy transition.
  6. Intensify international co-operation and action on COVID-19 while recognising renewable energy as a key part of the solution.

Through these six actions, governments can align their economic recovery from COVID-19 with their climate plans, deliver on their commitments under the Paris Agreement, and come back stronger than ever from the COVID-19 crisis.  Now is the time to use the momentum of a green recovery to continue building broad public support for the transformative decarbonisation of societies and pave the way for equitable, inclusive and resilient economies.

For a more detailed view of the IRENA Coalition for Action’s renewed Call to Action, please click here.

The World Future Council (WFC) works to pass on a healthy and sustainable planet with just and peaceful societies to our children and grandchildren. To achieve this, we focus on identifying, developing, highlighting, and spreading effective, future-just solutions for current challenges humanity is facing, and promote their implementation worldwide. The Council consists of 50 eminent global change-makers from governments, parliaments, civil societies, academia, the arts, and the business world. Jakob von Uexkull, the Founder of the Alternative Nobel Prize, launched the World Future Council in 2007. We are an independent, non-profit organisation under German law and finance our activities with institutional partnerships and donations. More information

The IRENA Coalition for Action brings together leading renewable energy players from around the world with the common goal of advancing the uptake of renewable energy. The Coalition facilitates global dialogues between public and private sectors to develop actions to increase the share of renewables in the global energy mix and accelerate the global energy transition. www.irena.org/coalition