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Over 110 countries set to join COP28 deal to triple renewable energy

Over 110 countries set to join COP28 deal to triple renewable energy

World

The EU, US and COP28 host the UAE have been rallying support for pledge to drop emissions sharply

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DUBAI (Reuters) - A pledge to triple the world's installed renewable energy by 2030 is poised to win support from more than 110 countries at the COP28 climate summit on Saturday, with some pushing to make the deal global by the end of the U.N. conference.

The European Union, United States and COP28 host the United Arab Emirates have been rallying support for the pledge as a means to the sharp drop in planet-warming emissions needed this decade to avoid unleashing more severe climate change.

"More than 110 countries have joined already," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told the COP28 summit on Thursday of the renewables pledge. "I call now on all of us to include these targets in the final COP decision."

Whether governments and companies will rally the huge investments needed to hit the goal is an open question.

While deployment of renewables like solar and wind has been surging globally for years, rising costs, labour constraints and supply chain issues have forced project delays and cancellations in recent months, costing developers like Orsted and BP billions of dollars in writedowns.

Getting the deal into the final U.N. climate summit decision would also require consensus among the nearly 200 countries present.

While China and India have signalled support for tripling global renewable energy by 2030, neither has confirmed it will back the overall pledge - which pairs the ramp-up in clean power with a reduction in fossil fuel use.

South Africa, Vietnam, Australia, Japan, Canada, Chile and Barbados are among the countries already on board, officials told Reuters.

The renewables pledge will be among several other energy-related announcements at COP28 on Saturday, including new measures and funding to combat methane emissions, agreements to cut coal use and the promotion of nuclear energy.

PHASE OUT?

A central decision facing nations at COP28 is whether to agree, for the first time, to gradually "phase out" global consumption of fossil fuels. Burning coal, oil and gas to produce energy is the main cause of climate change.

A draft of the renewable energy pledge, seen by Reuters, called for "the phase down of unabated coal power" and ending the financing of new coal-fired power plants.

Tripling clean sources like wind and solar and doubling energy savings would deliver 85% of the cuts in fossil fuel use needed this decade to meet global climate goals, according to an analysis by think-tank Ember.

The goals will add to pressure on wealthy nations and international financial institutions to unleash the massive investments needed to hit 11,000 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2030 - in particular, by reducing the high cost of capital that has stymied renewable energy projects in Africa and other developing nations.

"The mismatch still exists between our potentiality and our limitations to attract investment," said Najib Ahmed, a consultant at Somalia's climate ministry.

Africa receives just 2% of global investments in renewable energy. Somalia has the highest onshore wind power potential of any African country, yet one of the lowest electrification rates in the continent, according to the International Energy Agency. 




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