Spring 2012

National Policies to Promote Renewable Energy

Mohamed T. El-Ashry

The world is entering a new energy era marked by concerns over energy security, climate change, and access by the poor to modern energy services. Yet the current energy path is not compatible with sustainable development objectives. Global demand for energy will continue to grow; so will CO2 emissions. Achieving a low-carbon energy world will require an unprecedented technological transformation in the way energy is produced and used. That transformation has begun, as renewables capacity continues to grow, prices continue to fall, and shares of global energy from renewables continue to increase. Government policies are the main driver behind renewable energy's meteoric growth. Still, the world is tapping only a small amount of the vast supply of renewable energy resources. There is broad consensus that the role of these resources should be expanded significantly in order to meaningfully address energy security, energy access, and climate change.

MOHAMED T. EL-ASHRY is a Senior Fellow at the UN Foundation and Chairman of REN21 (Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century). He serves as Facilitator of the Global Leadership for Climate Action, which he organized in 2007. Previously, he served as Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Global Environment Facility, Chief Environmental Adviser to the President and Director of the Environment Department at the World Bank, and Senior Vice President of the World Resources Institute. He is a Fellow of the Geological Society of America and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

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