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REM: Wind CEOs warn G20 to “get serious” about renewable energy

Wind turbines in India. The G20 needs to
Wind turbines in India. The G20 needs to "get serious" about renewable energy, say wind CEOs.

Leading CEOs of the global wind industry are calling on G20 members to show leadership in the climate crisis by raising national ambitions and are urgently laying out concrete plans for increased wind energy production to replace fossil fuels.

Twenty-three CEOs from the Global Wind Energy Coalition (GWEC) for COP26 have sent an open letter to leaders of the G20 acknowledging that while some progress has been made in the energy transition, current net-zero pledges from G20 countries still put the world on a 2.4C global warming pathway, well beyond the Paris Agreement targets and what is needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

"G20 member countries represent more than 80% of global energy-related carbon emissions – so the leaders of these countries hold the power and [have a] public duty to transform the world's energy system," said Ben Backwell, GWEC CEO. "These countries need to get serious about renewables, and in particular wind energy as the clean energy solution with the most potential to help the world meet its Paris Agreement targets."

The upcoming COP26 conference in Glasgow in November is crucial, and will emphasise how much still needs to be achieved five years after the Paris Agreement was reached in 2015. It is expected to be the most significant climate change meeting since the agreement.

GWEC noted that at the end of 2020, even with all the stated ambition and progress, no G20 countries were deemed to have 1.5°C-compatible renewable energy targets.

If current growth rates for wind energy persist, said the trade association, global wind capacity will fall dramatically short of the volumes required for carbon neutrality by 2050, with installation shortfalls of as much as 57% by 2050, it warned.

The letter highlights that the recent roadmap from the International Energy Agency (IEA) shows that annual wind deployment must quadruple from 93 GW in 2020 to 390 GW in 2030 to meet a net-zero-by-2050 scenario.

The letter is signed by the leaders of major wind power companies – such as Vestas Wind Systems, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, Ørsted, SSE, RWE and Mainstream Renewable Power, and associations representing the industry in key regions such as the UK, Brazil, China, Mexico and South Africa. Notably, the signatories do not include the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturer, GE.