According to the International Energy Agency, global greenhouse gas emissions from the energy sector grew by 1.4% in 2017 to a historic high of 32.5 gigatonnes, due to higher energy demand and the slowing of energy efficiency improvements . Average concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere is now above 410 parts per million (ppm), compared to 350ppm in 1990.
As a result, as research by NASA confirms, Earth’s long-term warming trend is still underway, with the five warmest years on record having occurred since 2010 .
In the 2015 Paris Agreement, the global community committed to limiting warming to “well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C” . The IPCC Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C confirms that exceeding these temperature limits would have disastrous consequences for life on Earth, from more and increasingly severe extreme weather events, such as floods and droughts, to irreversible changes to ecosystems and thus the way we live, produce and consume.
 UNFCCC, 2015, Art. 2.1a
The Paris Agreement has left us with an unprecedented opportunity to avert the worst consequences of climate change, while the Agenda 2030 – which includes the 17 Sustainable Development Goals – has provided us with a plan for sustainable development that leaves no one behind.
These political commitments require a global transformation of the energy sector in the coming years. However, existing policy measures and legal frameworks that aim at operationalising these commitments often fall short of their own ambition. While the transition towards an energy system powered by clean and sustainable resources has gained considerable momentum in recent years, a range of obstacles remain.
Renewable energy, therefore, is at the top of the agenda of many policy-makers worldwide. Technologies for renewable power generation, heating and cooling, and transport are available and, even more important, most often are the cheapest option. They also advance national energy security, economic growth, job creation, emissions reduction and curbing local pollution.
The decarbonization of the global economy is in sight. A world entirely powered by renewable energy is possible and affordable. Prices for renewable energy have dropped dramatically. Roughly 2/3 of global investments into new energy-generating technologies go into renewable sources. Transformational changes are happening across the world and across all sectors as a result of technological innovation, new and creative policies and political will at all levels.As of 2016, modern renewables (not including traditional use of biomass) accounted for approximately 10.4% of total final energy consumption. The total global capacity of renewable energy in 2017 was 2,195 Gigawatt (GW). However, the pace of this transformation is not fast enough to protect the climate. States and regions, cities, businesses and investors are leading the way by setting bold targets up to 100% RE but they also need guidance in achieving these targets. So now is the time to switch gears and accelerate the deployment of renewable energy while ensuring an inclusive transformation.
Global Renewable Power Capacity, 2007-2017
Adapted from REN21 RENEWABLES 2018 GLOBAL STATUS REPORT
Members of Parliament are crucial actors for the energy transition. As legislators, they can catalyse and facilitate the implementation of the transition, develop policies to overcome remaining barriers and ensure international commitments are implemented. In light of the complexity of the task, a subject-specific and technical exchange of experiences between parliamentarians is needed.
The Global Renewables Congress (GRC) is a cross-country, cross-party platform for ongoing dialogue between and with legislators on issues related to the rapid and large-scale deployment of renewable energy solutions. Current and former legislators from national and regional parliaments can become members of the GRC.
The platform recognises the varying technical, economic and social conditions in different parts of the world that influence what renewable energy policies and solutions are most appropriate and effective and offers expertise and advice in navigating these determinant factors. It places at heart of RE action or policies an emphasis on the benefits to communities and local value creation.
The goal of the Global Renewables Congress is the institutionalization of an international, non-partisan platform for legislators to exchange knowledge and experiences on issues related to the deployment of renewable energy solutions, including the technological and economic potential of renewable energy, as well as its socio-economic benefits. A number of key areas within the energy transition will be addressed. For example, the GRC will offer:
The Global Renewables Congress (GRC) is chaired by Bärbel Höhn, former MP of the German Bundestag and acting Commissioner for Energy Reform in Africa for the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development.
Co-Chairs are appointed in each of the major regions of the world and are supported by an advising multi-stakeholder board. The World Future Council provides the secretariat of the GRC.
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