UNDP Community of Practice on Energy: Meeting IRENA on Raising Renewable Energy Ambitions in NDCs

09 September 2020 |Webinar


Prior to the adoption of the Paris Agreement, Parties to the UNFCCC were invited to submit their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), ahead of COP 21 in 2015, outlining climate pledges including mitigation and adaptation targets. The adoption of the Agreement and its rapid entry into force in 2016, turned countries’ pledges into commitments under Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). The ratchet mechanism of the Paris Agreement allows countries to submit revised and updated NDCs with higher ambition every 5 years. The year 2020 marks the starting point for the revision of countries’ contributions for raising ambition to meet and align with the objectives of the Agreement. To date, 11 countries have already submitted a revised NDC, while others are engaged in the process of preparing updates and long-term strategies.

The current NDCs fall short to realize the Paris Agreement objectives, including, the achievement of the required mitigation and adaptation goals. While transitions to decarbonized and resilient development pathways are underway in many countries, limiting the global warming to 1.5°C will require a dramatic transformation in the energy, land, urban and industrial sectors, globally. Achieving this transformation will require countries to submit NDCs with higher ambition and with concrete implementation plans, especially in the energy sector with global energy consumption representing 73% of total emissions of which 30% electricity and heat .

While most countries included renewable energy in their NDCs, accelerating the energy transition and increasing the share of renewable energy will be crucial to achieve the global climate goals. To achieve the Energy Transformation Scenario, energy-related CO2 emissions need to fall by 3.8% per year on average until 2050. Annual energy-related CO2 emissions would need to decline by 70% below today’s level by 2050 .

The year 2020 not only represents a window of opportunity for countries to strengthen their NDCs and climate commitments, but also offers an avenue to achieve sustainable development goals (SDGs). The countries can have substantial socio-economic benefits through mitigation and adaption measures in their enhanced NDCs ranging from an improved well-being to social development, sustained economic growth, increase in investments, and job creation. As countries are undertaking economic stimulus packages for post-COVID 19 recovery measures, policy makers have a unique chance to align short-term investments, regulations and policies with the long-term need for decarbonised economies and societies. In this context, the short-term policy package should be aligned with the renewable energy targets and Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement.

In this context, IRENA teamed up with UNDP under the Climate Promise initiative that aims to support 100+ countries in enhancing their NDCs, with focus on the energy component of the commitments, in which more ambitious renewable energy targets can be effectively integrated, while also improving their quality.

IRENA has a vast body of knowledge and expertise in different facets of the energy transition that can provide substantive input to NDC enhancement and implementation, upon request. To help raise renewable energy ambitions within NDCs, IRENA collaborates with a number of countries on renewable energy resource assessment; on data and statistics and related capacity building on data collection and management; on Renewable Energy Roadmaps offering long-term perspective on country-specific decarbonisation options across consuming sectors as well as Long-term Planning for renewables penetration in power systems. IRENA’s Renewables Readiness Assessments as well as Capacity Building support in various policy and technology areas help create environments more conducive to renewable energy investments. IRENA also contributes to the development of NDC Implementation Plans as well as the Investment Frameworks to facilitate realisation of projects. Another area of growing requests is the establishment of effective MRV systems for energy through which countries track and report on the implementation and impacts of mitigation and adaptation actions

Participation in this event was ‘by invitation only'.