India a 'Good Example' as Solar Auctions Gain Popularity Amid Covid-19 Pandemic: UN Chief
India is a "good example as solar auctions have seen popularity amidst the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, UN chief Antonio Guterres said on Thursday, underlining that renewable energy is the only energy source expected to grow in 2020 and offers more jobs than the fossil fuel industry.
In his remarks to the International Energy Agency Clean Energy Transition Summit', UN Secretary General Guterres urged the international community to commit to no new coal and to end all external financing of coal in the developing world.
Coal has no place in COVID-19 recovery plans. Nations must commit to net-zero emissions by 2050 and submit more ambitious national climate plans before COP-26 next year, he said.
"The seeds of change are there. Renewable energy is the only energy source expected to grow in 2020. Solar auctions have seen popularity amidst the height of the pandemic. India serves as a good example. Renewables offer three times more jobs than the fossil fuel industry, Guterres said.
Last month, Adani Green Energy said it has bagged the first of its kind manufacturing-linked solar contract worth Rs 45,000 crore from the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) to develop 8 GW electricity generation capacity and 2 GW equipment manufacturing facility in the country.
Guterres said he has asked all countries to consider six climate positive actions as they rescue, rebuild and reset their economies.
"We need to make our societies more resilient. We need green jobs and sustainable growth," he said, adding that bailout support to sectors such as industry, aviation and shipping should be conditioned on alignment with the goals of the Paris Agreement.
Countries also need to stop wasting money on fossil fuel subsidies and place a price on carbon, he said, noting that countries need to consider climate risk in their decision making.
Every financial decision must take account of environmental and social impacts. Overall, we need to work together.
Guterres said while he is encouraged that some COVID-19 response and recovery plans put the transition from fossil fuels at their core, some countries have used stimulus plans to prop up oil and gas companies that were already struggling financially and others have chosen to jumpstart coal-fired power plants that don't make financial or environmental sense.
He stressed that nations must limit temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius to avert more and worse disasters. "This means net-zero emissions by 2050, and 45 per cent cuts by 2030 from 2010 levels. This is still achievable.
The UN chief noted that the rationale for the clean energy pathway is economics.
Per kilowatt hour, solar energy is now cheaper than coal in most countries. If we had any doubt about the direction the wind is blowing, the real economy is showing us, he said, adding that the business case for renewable energy is now better than coal in virtually every market. Fossil fuels are increasingly risky business with fewer takers.