In light of impending climate change, most nations across the world have committed to switching from fossil fuels to more sustainable energy sources.
Here in New Zealand, we were already doing well, with over 40% of our energy coming from renewable sources. But we still have a long way to go to meet our targets under the Paris Agreement and stop the world reaching the point of no return for climate change.
We could take our cues from other countries and how they’re building a new, more sustainable world. A recent Carbon Brief report written by E4tech with the Imperial College London has ranked 25 countries on their efforts and has revealed clear leaders.
World leaders in clean energy
According to the report:
The United Kingdom is leading the way in decarbonisation, with the fastest transition so far. The US and China could match the UK’s example, then global emissions would fall by 9%.
Germany has installed the most energy storage, adding 1,125GW of storage per person to their grid. Storage is vital to the infrastructure of clean energy. They currently rank 1st for solar capacity per person and 3rd for wind. Germany has been setting an example that’s been followed throughout the EU – 8 of the top ten countries were from this region.
Coal must be considered as well. Coal is the most polluting way to generate energy, so the countries that rely least on coal are closer to achieving 100% clean energy. Again, Europe leads the abandonment of coal as a power source. Norway was first with 0% coal generation. The US and China still have high coal use, but they are making inroads, with decreases of 18% and 14%.
However, at the other end, China, Indonesia, India and South Africa are still generating too much energy with coal. In South Africa, 90% of their energy needs are met with coal.
Electric vehicle adoption
The report also looked at the rates of EV adoption within the nations. It found that over 4.5 million EVs were now on the roads, and the number being purchased each year was increasing rapidly.
Despite this, Norway is the only country with EVs making up more than 10% of their fleet. A staggering 47% of their national fleet is made up of EVs. Here in New Zealand, we’re struggling to hit 2%.
Why is Norway so far ahead? Their government has been incentivising EVs since the 1980s. This just goes to show how much the culture of a country can be influenced through legislation.
However, if you consider EVs in terms of the number on the road, China and the US have Norway beat, with over 3 million EVs on the road between them – that’s ¾ of the entire world’s EV market!
No matter how heartening some of these changes appear, the world still has a long way to go if we want to avoid the point of no return for climate change. That’s why it’s so important we work hard now to put New Zealand on the map as a climate change leader.
Image source: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/02/these-countries-are-leading-the-charge-to-clean-energy/