Clean energy race sparks more ambitious climate policies, says report

Policies announced in the latest three-month period were the most ambitious yet, helped by green subsidies in the US and the EU's plans to boost cleaner energy sources

Reuters
Published : 25 Jan 2023, 03:43 PM
Updated : 25 Jan 2023, 03:43 PM

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 1.8 degrees Celsius, a new assessment published on Wednesday found.

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 latest three-month period from October to January was the most ambitious yet, IPR said, helped by a wave of green subsidies in the United States' Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and the European Union's own plans to boost cleaner energy sources.

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

However, IPR's tracker shows that most policies do not appear aligned with limiting a rise in global temperatures to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. The United Nations says breaching that 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 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and to aim for 1.5°C.

Already, the world has heated to around 1.1°C above pre-industrial levels. Each of the last 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," said IPR's project director Mark Fulton.

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, with 68 supporting or confirming a 1.8 degrees C temperature rise forecast, 20 indicating increased ambition and two a decrease.

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

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher