BERLIN, June 13 (Reuters) – Swedish activist Greta Thunberg warned on Tuesday that humanity was “racing towards the precipice” of climate catastrophe, and a new study by think tank Climate Analytics has shown that this can only be avoided increasing wind and solar energy installations five times faster and reducing fossil fuel production by 6% annually by 2030.
The study was released on the sidelines of the UN climate talks in Bonn, where Thunberg said humanity must act now on the climate crisis or face “the death sentence”.
“We are still racing towards the cliff and are on the brink of potential tipping points that once passed, there may be no turning back,” Thunberg said.
The share of renewable energy in electricity generation has increased to around 30% globally due to falling costs. To limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit), that share needs to more than double to more than 70 percent by 2030 for the world to keep global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial, says the study. He cited a scientific analysis of the March 2023 report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
If that level is exceeded, it could unleash much more severe climate change effects, he said.
“Total wind and solar capacity is expected to reach about 10 terrawatts (TW) by the end of the decade, five times the 2 TW capacity in 2022, according to the study. Achieving that goal would require installing 1.5 TW of new wind and solar capacity per year by 2030, a fivefold increase from 2022 levels of 0.3 TW.
The study by Climate Analytics, a global institute of climate science and policy started in 2008 and based in Berlin, said that global use of fossil fuels is expected to decrease by about 40% over the decade, with coal will decrease by 79%.
Discussions at the UN climate talks in Germany intensified on the issue of putting a phase-out or exit from fossil fuels on the agenda of the COP28 climate summit in Dubai in December.
“As we ramp up renewable energy, we can’t forget the elephant in the negotiating room: fossil fuels,” said Claire Fyson, one of the study’s authors at a news conference.
Many in the fossil fuel industry have touted carbon capture and storage technologies as a possible solution, including COP28 chairman Sultan al-Jaber, who is also chief executive officer of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company. But Fyson said these will play a minimal role at best in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
“Looking specifically at the energy sector, we find that carbon capture and storage would be used for up to 0.1% of global electricity generation in 2030,” he said.
The Bonn conference is seen as an intermediate test in view of COP28.
Reporting by Riham Alkousaa; Editing by Davide Gregorio
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