World must invest $8 trillion in renewables by 2030 to meet COP28 goal

World must invest $8 trillion in renewables by 2030 to meet COP28 goal
$2 trillion a year must be invested globally until 2030 to meet COP28 renewables goals, says a new report / GWEC
By by Roberta Harrington in Los Angeles February 14, 2024

Investment of as much as $8 trillion in renewable energy and half of that in grids and storage is required to meet the goal of tripling renewable energy capacity by 2030, as agreed at COP28 in Dubai in December.

That is the equivalent of an annual investment of $2 trillion globally, said a new report by Climate Analytics, the climate change think-tank.

Investment in sub-Saharan Africa needs to grow seven-fold to ramp up renewables twice as fast as average, which is what is needed to align the region with the global target, said the report.

“$2 trillion a year sounds like a cost, but it’s really a choice,” said the report’s lead author and Climate Analytics expert Dr Neil Grant. “We’re set to invest over $6 trillion in fossil fuels over this decade – more than enough to close the tripling investment gap. Faced with this choice, I’d go with the safest, best value option – renewables.”

OECD countries are forecast to double their renewables by 2030, but that capacity needs to triple, said the report. Tripling the capacity would close 60% of the global gap between forecast capacity in 2030 and the COP28 goal, it said.

“The OECD needs to triple renewables but is currently way off target,” said Claire Fyson, co-author on the report and head of policy at Climate Analytics. “Countries in the region claiming to be climate leaders need to walk the talk, not just by ramping up renewables at home but by coming through for other regions which need finance to contribute to the tripling goal.”

Asia needs to scale slightly faster than the OECD, almost quadrupling its renewable capacity by the end of the decade. Asia is the only region broadly on course for the tripling goal, driven mostly by policies in China and India. However, the significant coal and gas pipelines in these countries risk becoming ‘stranded assets’ or slowing the energy transition.

As renewables are set to grow strongly in Asia, new fossil fuel plants are not needed and should be avoided, warned Climate Analytics.

“The renewables industry stands ready to deliver on the global tripling goal. But to get there in time, we need governments to take urgent action to turbocharge an already buoyant renewables market,” said Bruce Douglas, CEO of the Global Renewables Alliance in reaction to the report. “Public finance is key, especially international support to provide access to low-cost capital for emerging markets to join the renewables era, ensuring a clean, secure and just transition for all,” he said.  

The report finds renewables need to continue growing strongly beyond 2030, scaling up five times by 2035 compared to 2022, to limit warming to 1.5°C, the Paris Agreement goal.

As governments start to develop their 2035 targets for the next round of Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC), they should consider how to follow through on the tripling ambition collectively agreed at COP28, said the report. An NDC is the effort by each country to reduce national emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change.