The world promised to triple renewable energy. It needs to get moving.

Senior Global Correspondent
Source: International Energy Agency • "COP28 goal" refers to the annual net additions needed to reach 11,000 GW by 2030. China does not have an official total renewable capacity ambition for 2030. Renewable energy capacity ambition for 2030 in the figure is estimated based on various modeling results.

It’s been six months since the annual United Nations climate conference (known as COP28), where much of the world assigned itself the task of tripling the planet’s renewable energy capacity by the end of the decade.  

Besides China — which is at once the planet’s biggest greenhouse gas emitter and standout builder of renewable energy — nearly every country must significantly accelerate construction to meet that goal, according to the International Energy Agency.  

And China, for its part, would still need to keep up its torrid pace of adding wind and solar power for the world to meet its collective goal. 

In short, the goal remains achievable, but countries must move very quickly, or, in China’s case, keep moving very quickly. 

The overall pace of renewable energy construction has accelerated dramatically in recent years. It grew 64% last year, reaching 560 gigawatts of new capacity. That sort of momentum, while unprecedented, puts the world on a trajectory to reach just under 8,000 gigawatts of total renewable capacity by 2030. 

Still, that capacity would be 30% short of the at least 11,000 gigawatts the IEA says would be needed to meet the tripling goal.  

To meet the goal, countries besides China need to deploy renewable energy 36% faster than they did last year. That means revising up their current plans as soon as possible and making policy adjustments accordingly. For the United States and Europe, accelerated deployment last year hints that upticks of 50% and 30% to 2030 are achievable, if challenging.