A U.N.-backed climate panel said the trillions of dollars in investments in fossil fuels needs to be redirected to ensure a sustainable future. File photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo
March 28 (UPI) -- Progress has been made in the fight against climate change, but it's lopsided and still far short of what's necessary to avoid a global crisis, the U.N.-backed International Renewable Energy Agency said Tuesday.
"The stakes could not be higher," IRENA Director-General Francesco La Camera said. "A profound and systemic transformation of the global energy system must occur in under 30 years, underscoring the need for a new approach to accelerate the energy transition."
Economies of scale are working to advance clean components, from emerging technologies such as hydrogen to proven methods like wind energy, in an effort to move away from polluting fossil fuels.
IRENA said, however, that it's the advanced economies such as China, the European Union and the United States that accounted for about 60% of total growth in alternative energy last year, leaving developing nations far behind.
That was among the nagging concerns for delegates at the COP27 environment summit in Egypt last year. The International Energy Agency in Paris said that progress is lopsided and the global economy needs to do more to find alternatives and more variety to avoid an over-dependent relationship, such as the pre-war energy ties between Russia and the European Union.
"It's important, though, that this competition is fair -- and that there is a healthy degree of international collaboration, since no country is an energy island and energy transitions will be more costly and slow if countries do not work together," IEA Director Fatih Birol said.
That said, global investments in clean energy technology set a record last year at $1.3 trillion, though IRENA estimates that spending needs to more than quadruple to keep the world's economy on a sustainable pathway.
Climate panels have been sounding the alarm for months. The International Panel on Climate Change said recently that time is running out to save the planet from the worst effects of global warming and U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said it was time to end the "war on nature."
IRENA added that the estimated $1 trillion in spending on fossil fuels by 2030 needs to be redirected toward a cleaner further.
"Moving forward, multilateral financial institutions need to direct more funds, at better terms, towards energy transition projects and build the physical infrastructure that is needed to sustain the development of a new energy system," La Camera said.