As China plays a key role in global energy transformation and sustainable development, China’s participation and support are crucial in achieving the goals set by the Paris Agreement to address climate change, the head of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has said.
Francesco La Camera, IRENA’s director-general, made the remarks at the agency’s headquarters in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), during an interview with Xinhua before making a trip to China later this week.
La Camera said he hoped his visit would further strengthen the IRENA’s ties with China, and seek more opportunities for cooperation in renewable energy investment, technology, research, and other areas.
Lauding China’s efforts to develop renewable energy in recent years, La Camera said that China is a robust advocate of renewable energy which plays a significant role in boosting the global renewable energy capacity.
China accounted for about 48 percent of the increase in global total renewable capacity in 2022, according to the IRENA’s Renewable Capacity Statistics 2023. Two-thirds of the new hydropower capacity, 45 percent of the new solar capacity, half of the new wind capacity, and 57 percent of the new bioenergy capacity in 2022 were installed in China.
From 2013 to 2020, China attracted 23 percent to 39 percent of the total investment in the global renewable energy sector each year, and the strong investment supported its development of renewable energy, La Camera noted.
Talking about China’s carbon neutrality target, the IRENA chief believed that the decarbonization of the energy system driven by renewable energy would help China achieve its goal. But China needs to continue improving energy efficiency, reform the power grid, and increase the electrification of end users.
La Camera also invited Chinese leading companies in steel, chemicals, cement, and mining sectors to join the Alliance for Industry Decarbonization initiated and promoted by the IRENA, sharing new business opportunities brought by green industrialization and best practices for reducing industrial emissions.
At the end of this year, the 28th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP28) the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is scheduled to be held in the UAE. La Camera noted that the first Global Stocktake (GST) at COP28 is crucial when the world will take a comprehensive assessment of its progress on the Paris Agreement.
He urged the parties to take urgent actions in the next five years, to put the global energy transformation back on track.
“To achieve the target of limiting the global temperature increase to below 1.5 degrees Celsius, 1,000 gigawatts of renewable electricity need to be generated every year,” said La Camera.
He revealed that the IRENA is working closely with the Chinese National Energy Administration to accelerate the global application of renewable energy, which will help achieve net-zero emissions of greenhouse gas and address global climate change as soon as possible.
Many members of the IRENA have also benefited from China’s rich experience in the fields of renewable energy, power transportation, green hydrogen, grid and flexible energy infrastructure manufacturing, as well as engineering and construction, La Camera said.
The IRENA, with 168 members, is a leading global intergovernmental organization to promote energy transformation based on renewable energy, which serves as the principal platform for international cooperation in this regard.