Clean energy race sparks more ambitious climate policies: Report

A wave of green subsidies in the US and EU aims to boost renewable energy sources based on a 1.8C temperature rise.

Climate policy announcements from the past three months are becoming more ambitious, and most aim for a rise in global temperatures of no more than 1.8C (3.1F), a new assessment finds.

The Inevitable Policy Response (IPR), which describes itself as a climate transition forecasting consortium, has been tracking government and private sector climate policies since a United Nations climate summit in November 2021 and weighs the announcements according to their credibility and ambition.

The three-month period from October to January was the most ambitious yet, the group said on Wednesday, after a wave of green subsidies came out of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) in the United States and the European Union planned to boost cleaner energy sources.

Those initiatives have provided a “new catalyst for climate action”, IPR said, as other major economies vie with China to lead on clean energy.

‘Race to the top’

However, IPR’s tracker shows most policies do not appear aligned with limiting a rise in global temperatures to 1.5C (2.7F) above pre-industrial levels. The UN says breaching that level risks unleashing far more severe effects of climate change.

The 2015 Paris Agreement commits countries to limit the global average temperature rise this century to well below 2C above pre-industrial levels and to aim for 1.5C.

The world has already heated to about 1.1C above pre-industrial levels. Each of the past four decades was hotter than any decade since 1850.

“The race to the top in clean energy unleashed by the US IRA and being followed up by the EU Green Industrial Plan combined with other positive policy announcements since COP27 point to an acceleration in clean energy deployment relative to recent expectations,” IPR Project Director Mark Fulton said. COP27 refers to November’s UN climate summit.

Of the 117 global policy announcements tracked in the latest quarter, 89 had sufficient credibility to be included in its tracker, IPR said. Of those, 68 supported or confirmed a forecast for a 1.8C temperature rise, 20 indicated increased ambition and two projected a temperature decrease, the group said.

Since it began tracking policies in late 2021, the IPR has analysed 331 policy announcements with 162 confirming IPR forecasts of a 1.8C rise.

Source: Reuters