World Weather Organization: Twice as much “clean electricity” needed

Status: 10/11/2022 3:28 PM

A lot of energy still comes from power plants that need water for cooling, but that is becoming increasingly scarce. That is why the World Weather Organization advocates more dependence on wind and solar energy. She sees the security of supply at risk.

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) warns in its annual report that climate change threatens global energy production. The organization said heat waves and droughts are causing the water level needed for hydroelectric power or to cool nuclear power plants to drop. In addition, storms and other extreme weather conditions endangered infrastructure in many places.

The energy sector is responsible for three-quarters of human-made greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change, said WMO Secretary General Petteri Taalas. It is therefore essential to radically change production. But governments aren’t doing enough: they won’t be able to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees as intended if electricity production from clean sources doesn’t double over the next eight years.

Power plants need water – and that is becoming scarcer

Already 15 percent of the world’s nuclear power plants are located in regions where water is becoming scarcer. The share is likely to rise to 25 percent in the next 20 years. Also, 33 percent of the thermal power plants that require cooling water and 11 percent of the hydroelectric capacity are located in water-scarce areas. Well over a quarter of the existing hydropower plant dams and nearly a quarter of the planned power plants are on rivers with a medium to high risk of water shortage.

In order to achieve the 1.5 degree target, the global community is actually aiming to cause only as much CO2 emissions by 2050 as can be offset (net zero emissions). The WMO warns that too little is being done in this regard. Under current plans, only 30 percent of the emission reductions needed to meet the 2030 target would be achieved.

WMO: Investments in solar technology needed

In fact, by 2050 the demand for electricity will have to be largely met by renewable energy sources, especially solar energy, writes the WMO. This also reduces the stress of increasing water shortages, because electricity from solar and wind energy requires significantly less water than, for example, electricity from systems that run on fossil fuels or from nuclear power plants.

Africa has great potential for solar energy. However, the investments there are far too low. Funding to help countries transition to clean energy has declined since 2018 — from $14.2 billion to $10.9 billion a year later. Delivering clean energy everywhere in Africa requires annual investments of $25 billion.

The WMO has been publishing the “State of Climate Services Report” annually since 2019. This year, more than 20 other organizations were involved.

WMO report on climate and energy security

Kathrin Hondl, ARD Geneva, October 11, 2022 3:11 PM

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