Is Paris going to help the renewables revolution?



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Climate Change The New Economy

With the UNFCCC’s COP 21 in Paris just around the corner, it’s useful to review where the global wind sector is at the moment, and what role wind is already playing in reducing carbon emissions, while at the same time looking at how much more it could do with the right signals coming out of Paris. The commitments submitted as of this writing represent some modest progress, although they still leave us far short of where we need to be to meet international climate objectives, and are unlikely to change between now and Paris. It is clear that more action is needed, and quickly, to put us on a path to keep global mean temperature rise well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and hopefully close to the 1.5°C limit necessary to protect many nations and ecosystems. We have the technology to do so.

Wind had a very good year in 2014, installing more than 50 GW of clean, affordable power for the first time in a single year. 2015 looks like it will be a pretty good year as well, with the global market passing 400 GW of total installed capacity. This is welcome news after four years of essentially flat markets due to the financial crisis and associated economic slowdown. Markets continue to expand across the world, with exciting new developments across Asia, Latin America and most recently in Africa. The market advance has been slow but steady across the OECD, but the majority of growth in the wind sector is outside the OECD.