Global Energy Transition Index 2021

The Global Energy Transition Index measures 115 countries’ readiness to shift to stable, efficient, accessible, and inclusive energy systems through three dimensions: economic development and growth, sustainability, and energy protection and access indicators. It considers recent developments in the global energy environment as well as the growing urgency of addressing climate change. The report was released by the World Economic Forum (WEF),  prepared in collaboration with Accenture.

Why is Global Energy Transition Index in News?

In the recently published report, India ranked 87th out of 115 countries in the Energy Transition Index(ETI). Further, India has made significant progress over the past decade, owing to the increasingly diverse energy sources, the share of renewables.

This is important from the perspective of the UPSC civil service examination on many fronts. Keeping in view the importance of such a crucial international event, we shall be discussing various aspects of the Index.

Further, this article covers other important aspects, keeping in mind the demands of the preliminary as well as the Main Examination of the IAS Exam.

What is the Concept of Energy Transition?

It can be defined as a timely transition towards a more inclusive, sustainable, affordable and secure energy system that provides solutions to global energy-related challenges, while creating value for business and society, without compromising the balance of the energy triangle.

What are the findings of the Global Energy Transition Index 2021?

  • This report identifies three imperatives to increase the resilience of the energy transition:

Deliver a “Just Transition” for All

  • Inequality is on the rise and broad stakeholder buy-in is a prerequisite for resilience.
  • The energy transition itself will change resource flows and reset sectors of the energy system in ways that, if not planned for, could lead to unintended consequences and leave entire communities adrift. 
  • Policy-makers should prioritize measures to support the economy, workforces and society at large as countries shift to a low-carbon energy system. 
  • It requires an inclusive approach to evaluate energy policy and investment decisions.

Accelerate Electrification and Go Beyond

  • Electrification and the scaling up of renewables are critical pillars of the energy transition and need to be ramped up quickly. 
  • However, coordination on the demand side and the contribution of other energy sources are necessary to achieve the full impact required.
  • Increased Research & Development funding and cross-sector collaboration are needed to fully decarbonize energy systems, from green hydrogen and negative emission technologies to digitally-enabled demand optimization.

Double- Down on Public-Private Sector Collaboration

  • The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that annual investments in clean energy and energy efficiency need to increase by a factor of six by 2050 compared with 2015 levels, to limit warming to 1.5˚C. 
  • Despite the growing inflow of capital into the sector, significant funding gaps remain, particularly in emerging markets and nascent technologies.
  • Collaboration between public and private sectors, including risk-sharing as low-carbon solutions mature, will attract the diversified, resilient sources of capital needed for multi-year and multi-decade investments into energy systems.

What are the important observations and features of this report?

  • Sweden leads the global rankings, followed by Norway and Denmark. 
  • Among the world’s 10 largest economies, only the United Kingdom and France feature in the top 10.
  • The top 10 accounts for only around 3% of energy-related CO2 emissions and around 2% of the global population.
  • Global average ETI scores have increased in 8 out of the last 10 years.
  • Only 25% of countries have balanced the three imperatives of the energy triangle.
  • Progress in energy access and environmental sustainability is strong, but economic growth challenges remain.
  • The top 10 countries account for only 3% of global CO2 emissions from fuel combustion.
  • Only 13 out of 115 countries have made steady gains in the past decade.
  • Speed of energy transition is fast in emerging economies, but large gaps remain.

What is the concept of just transition?

  • The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change defines Just Transition as the move towards an environmentally sustainable economy while contributing to the goals of decent work for all, social inclusion and the eradication of poverty. 
  • Decent work, poverty eradication and environmental sustainability are three of the defining challenges of the 21st century. 
  • Economies around the globe must be productive to meet the needs of the world’s growing population.
  • Societies must be inclusive, providing opportunities for decent work for all, reducing inequalities and effectively eliminating poverty.
  • This ensures that no one is left behind as the world’s economies adapt and adjust to the changes required to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

What is the need for resilience in energy transition?

  • The resilience of the energy transition refers to the ability of the energy transition to absorb, recover from and adapt to disruptions and continue along a pathway to deliver a secure, sustainable, affordable and inclusive low-carbon future.
  • The risks facing energy transition are evolving, threatening to derail momentum for change. It reflects the need to build resilience to overcome new risks.
  • Rising social inequalities, international cooperation challenges and geopolitical shifts call for an inclusive and holistic approach.
  • For robust and resilient progress, energy transition needs to be firmly rooted in legislation, consumer awareness, infrastructure and investments.

Conclusion

The Global Energy Transition Index report is a comprehensive assessment of different nations and their preparedness to address the new age energy security challenges, the need for further up-gradation of infrastructure, financing and tuning it to the need of green energy. In this regard, renewable energy and energy efficiency have a synergistic effect of reducing import dependence while adding diversity to the energy basket. It underscores the crucial security gains from the energy transition. 

There is a need to build an effective and resilient energy transition. Moreover, energy access programmes need to focus on the quality of energy supply. It is critical to root the energy transition in economic, political and social practices so that progress becomes irreversible.

This article is relevant for the sections of the Current Affairs part of the UPSC Syllabus prescribed for the Preliminary and Main Stages of Civil Services Exam.

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