Global Perspective on Renewable Energy

Sustainable energy development has become an issue of high priority in the national agenda of many countries. Renewable energy (RE) is considered as one of the essential components of a sustainable energy system of many countries and cities.

This web page has hyperlinks which may transfer you to third-party website.The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol

Development of renewable energy is considered one of the ways to mitigate global warming and associated climate change effect. The first international convention relating to climate change is the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which arose out of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (the Earth Summit) of 1992. The Convention on Climate Change sets an overall framework for intergovernmental efforts to tackle the challenge posed by climate change. The Convention entered into force in 1994.

The Convention as originally framed sets no mandatory limits on greenhouse gas emissions for individual nations. Rather, the Convention included provisions for updates (called "protocols") that would set mandatory emission limits. The principal update is the Kyoto Protocol.

The 1997 Kyoto Protocol shares the Convention's objective, principles and institutions, but significantly strengthens the Convention by committing industrialized countries, the so called "Annex I Parties" to the Convention, to legally-binding targets to limit or reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Only Parties to the Convention that have also become Parties to the Protocol will be bound by the Protocol's commitments. 164 countries have ratified the Protocol to date. Of these, 35 countries and the EEC are required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions below levels specified for each of them in the treaty. The individual targets for Annex I Parties add up to a total cut in greenhouse-gas emissions of at least 5% from 1990 levels in the commitment period 2008-2012. The Kyoto Protocol entered into force in 2002.

The Paris Agreement

The Paris Agreement, an ambitious multilateral treaty agreed in December 2015, succeeds the Kyoto Protocol that will expire in 2020. China formally signed it on Earth Day, 22 April 2016, and ratified it on 3 September 2016. The Paris Agreement came into force on 4 November 2016.

The key provisions of the Paris Agreement call for global actions to:

  • Achieve ‘peak’ greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (referred to as carbon emissions hereinafter) as soon as possible and achieve a balance between carbon sources and sinks in the second half of the 21st century (i.e. to reach ‘carbon neutrality’ between 2051 and 2100); and
  • Keep global average temperature increase well below 2°C relative to pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5°C.

Perspectives of Some Countries/Regions on Renewable Energy

Different countries have taken different approaches to promote the use of renewable energy. Given below are links to websites outlining some countries' perspectives or approaches with regard to renewable energy:

People's Republic of China, Renewable Energy Law
This web page has hyperlinks which may transfer you to third-party website.http://www.gov.cn/ (in Chinese)

European Commission (EC), Directorate-General on Energy and New and Renewable Energies
This web page has hyperlinks which may transfer you to third-party website.https://ec.europa.eu/energy/en/topics/renewable-energy

GOV.UK
This web page has hyperlinks which may transfer you to third-party website.https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/energy-and-climate-change-evidence-and-analysis

Australia, Australian Greenhouse Office
This web page has hyperlinks which may transfer you to third-party website.http://www.climatechange.gov.au/en/government/initiatives/ renewable-target.aspx

Measures to Promote Renewable Energy

In general, the policy measures to promote renewable energy include:

  • feed-in tariff
  • renewable portfolio standard
  • capital subsidies, grants or rebates
  • investment excise, or other tax credits
  • sales tax, energy tax, VAT reduction
  • tradable renewable energy certificates
  • energy production payments/ tax credits
  • net metering
  • public investment, loads, or financing
  • public competitive bidding

Interested readers are referred to the Renewables Global Status Report , which are available for download from the This web page has hyperlinks which may transfer you to third-party website.REN21 website.

   
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