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The Clean Energy Future is Arriving Faster Than You Think

By The New York Times

The pace of development of some clean energy technologies- such as solar PV and electric vehicles-shows what can be achieved with sufficient ambition and policy action, but faster change is urgently needed across most components of the energy system to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, according to the IEA’s latest evaluation of global progress.

Published today, the annual update of the IEA’s Tracking Clean Energy Progress online resource reveals remarkable gains in the past year. Electric car sales reached a record high of more than 10 million in 2022, a nearly tenfold increase in just 5 years. As a result, renewables now account for 30% of global electricity generation. Investment in clean energy reached a record USD 1.6 trillion in 2022, an increase of almost 15% from 2021, demonstrating continued confidence in energy transitions even uncertain economic and developing economies.

Clean energy development is also occurring faster in some parts of the energy system-such as electricity generation and passenger cars where cost have fallen and technologies are relatively mature.

“The clean energy economy is rapidly taking shape, but even faster progress is needed in most areas to meet international energy and climate goals,” said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol. “This update of Tracking Clean Energy Progress highlights some very promising developments, underlying both the need and the potential for greater action globally. The extraordinary growth of key technologies like solar and electric cars shows what is possible.”

Progress can be observed across all of the 50-plus components of the energy system evaluated in Tracking Clean Energy Progress, the majority are not yet on a path consistent with net zero emissions by 2050. Stronger policy support and greater investment are needed across a wide range of different technologies, in all regions of the world, to enable a broader and faster shift towards clean energy to keep net zero emissions by 2050 within reach.

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