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Stefan GsangerThe latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, published in August, leaves no doubt about what needs to be done: ‘… limiting human-induced global warming to a specific level requires limiting cumulative CO2 emissions, reaching at least net zero CO2 emissions, along with strong reductions in other greenhouse gas emissions.’ This statement clearly underscores the urgency of stopping fossil fuel burning and switching to renewable energy, including wind power, around the world.
By Stefan Gsänger, Secretary General, World Wind Energy Association
The report has been released at a time when the world is facing unprecedented weather disasters, killing hundreds of people and causing enormous damage to the infrastructure of affected areas: floods in Central Europe and China, and extreme heatwaves and bushfires in Southern Europe, Russia, North America and parts of Africa.
Accordingly, today people around the world are directly feeling the effects of climate change and are calling on their governments to act. Launched three years ago, the For Future movement has become a social and political force in many countries.
However, as we have also learned from Renewables 2021’s latest ‘Global Status Report’ and despite a new record in wind power installations in 2020, the switch to renewable energy is not happening at the required extent and speed. The world urgently needs to ramp up wind and sun faster and begin phasing out coal, oil and gas.
There are positive developments: US President Joe Biden has changed the political climate at the global level with new commitments, China has committed itself to climate neutrality, and the European Union has passed a Green Deal. As a major player, Germany will soon see elections, and the latest polls suggest a new, more proactive government that will hopefully also have an impact on the international situation.
What can we, as part of the wind and renewable energy community, do so that the whole world invests faster and much more in wind, solar and other renewables? How can we avoid failures, such as the recent failure of the G20 meetings, from affecting our future?
Of course, our primary responsibility as part of the wind and renewable energy community is clear: we must continue to do everything in our power to increase renewables, reduce costs, improve technology and make renewables accessible to everyone. We need to reach out and prove that our technologies can and do deliver, and that they serve people and communities around the world. Many of us are already doing this every day.
Let us also work with the millions of people in the climate movement who are calling on governments to act. They are looking for the solutions which we already have.
Let us create a close and strong alliance between the new climate movement and the renewable energy community. Together we can provide the renewable energy supply that the world needs.
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