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This month we are sharing an article authored by Suzanne Goldenberg that originally ran in theguardian. If you would like to check the article out in original format or share, please follow this link.

“Rapid switch to renewable energy can put Paris climate goals within reach”

Countries can deliver on the promises of the historic Paris climate change agreement by rapid scaling up wind and solar power to 36% of the global energy mix by 2030, an international energy gathering will be told on Saturday.

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) meeting in Abu Dhabi- the first major global gathering since Paris- is seen as an important test of countries’ readiness to put those plans into action.

Nearly 200 countries agreed to keep warming below 2C, and work towards a 1.5C limit, during the Paris climate negotiations last month. Now comes the hard part, making good on those promises by translating emissions cutting targets into policies, and expanding access to clean energy technologies.

IRENA said those goals were within reach- if countries move fast. Scaling up renewable energy to 36% of the global energy mix by 2030 would provide about half of the emissions reductions needed to hold warming to 2C. Energy efficiency could make up the rest.

“The Paris agreement set a long-term vision for the deep reduction of global emissions and the need to decarbonize the energy sector,” Adnan Amin, IRENA’s director general said in a prepared statement. “The IRENA assembly must now take the next steps and establish a blueprint for action to meet our climate goals and set the world on a path to a sustainable energy future.”

In an effort to spur countries to action, an IRENA report released on Saturday found doubling the share of renewables by 2030 would increase global GDP by up to 1.1% or about $1.3 trillion and provide jobs for more than 24 million in the renewable sector.

The United Nations climate chief, Christiana Figueres, has said repeatedly she was looking for the Paris agreement to send a clear signal to the business community of a shift away from a fossil-fuel driven economy. Some of those changes are already underway. Global clean energy investment attracted a record $329 billion last year, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The report noted the rise in clean energy investment came despite the drop in oil prices.

IRENA officials said they hoped that the Paris climate accord would add momentum to the shift. “We are not seeing climate change action as a cost, but starting to see it in terms of opportunities,” said Angela Kallhauge, IRENA’s climate change officer.

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