Aug 17, 2019 | Updated: 07:24 AM EDT

Clean Energy Growth Failed to Increase for the First Time in Nearly 20 Years

May 11, 2019 02:06 PM EDT

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Ever since the Paris Agreement, countries are actively trying to transition energy usage to renewable energy in huge percentages. It was a universal pact that sets the world on a course to a 'zero-carbon, resilient, prosperous and fair future'. Despite many achievements, clean energy growth failed to increase year-over-year for the first time in nearly 20 years, a landmark report revealed this week. The finding puts the possibility of achieving the planet's climate change goals into jeopardy, as annual growth currently stands at just a fraction what is ultimately needed.

A report stated that clean energy growth is not growing fast enough. Last year, all around the world clean energy added 177 gigawatts of net capacity which was the same amount it added the year before. This may seem a lot, but 177 gigawatts worldwide is only 60 percent of the ideal amount that the world needs to add to the grid every year if we are to meet our climate targets. These are just not enough.

From 2015 to 2017, there has been an increase in solar panel additions worldwide. It has doubled over the two year period, from 49 gigawatts added in 2015 to 97 gigawatts added in 2017, but last year it flatlined since it added 97 gigawatts to overall capacity. China, the world's biggest polluter, shows energy added at 44 gigawatts from its 53 gigawatts last 2017.

Other forms of clean energy, unfortunately, cannot fill in the gaps. Wind energy hasn't grown much in the past three years, adding 50 gigawatts last year, while hydro on the other hand shows a decline from 36 to 20 gigawatts in 2018.

The inability to add more capacity still has an effect on carbon emissions. Even if renewable energy generation increased by 7 percent overall, carbon emissions related to energy jumped by 1.7 percent last year.

According to the International Energy Agency, who released the report last Monday, this is a wake-up call to every country in the world to not be complacent in their goals for renewable energy.

"These 2018 data are deeply worrying, but smart and determined policies can get renewable capacity additions back on an upward trend," Fatih Birol, the International Energy Agency's executive director, said in a statement.

He continued that "The world cannot afford to press 'pause' on the expansion of renewables and governments need to act quickly to correct this situation and enable faster flow of new projects."

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