(The Nov. 1 story corrects the year in paragraph 5 to 2012 from 2013)
By Jane Chung
SEOUL (Reuters) - The outlook for renewable energy is “very positive” with more new investments in renewable than fossil fuel but further efforts and money are needed to tackle climate change, the head of the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) said.
Renewable energy will keep growing out to 2023 led by growth in bioenergy consumption as countries seek to reduce green house gas emissions as a way to keep the planet from getting warmer, according to the latest report by the International Energy Agency.
“In the last few years the investments in new projects are much more in renewable than in fossil fuel,” Frank Rijsberman, Director-General of the Seoul-based Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), told the Reuters Global Commodities Summit on Thursday.
“We see a very positive outlook for renewable energy but it still needs to be sped up.”
The GGGI, initially set up as a think-tank in 2010 by South Korea’s then president Lee Myung-bak before being converted to treaty-based international organization in 2012, aims to help emerging countries develop green growth models to meet both economic growth and climate change policy goals.
Last year, the GGGI helped raise more than $500 million for climate finance through investment projects and government funds to support developing nations, and it aims to raise $2.5 billion by 2020, Rijsberman said.
“We think for the world, trillions of dollars are necessary to invest in sustainable infrastructure... there are many billions of dollars out there. They are ready to be invested. We’re just at the beginning,” he said.
To further support renewable energy and curb gas emissions, he said the upcoming U.N. climate talks in Poland in December were important to implement the Paris Agreement in 2015. Government ministers will try to agree on rules for the agreement’s implementation at the Dec. 2-14 meeting.
“If we can finish that this year, we can start implementing. There are all kinds of things that are linked to that,” Rijsberman said.
Capping the global average temperature rise to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels was a target agreed at global climate talks in Paris in 2015.
The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report, warning that temperatures are likely to rise by 1.5 degrees Celsius between 2030 and 2052 should the world fail to take rapid and unprecedented measures to cap the rise.
Rijsberman also said the organization has been exploring ways to help North Korea such as with a study plan for 100 percent renewable energy for the Korean Peninsula. It also made a forestry project offer to the North Korean government.
“We do forestry projects in other countries like Indonesia and Colombia ... so we’ve written to the North Korean government to make that offer and we have had the first positive response,” he said.
Following the historic inter-Korean summit in April, North and South Korea have been in talks to restore destroyed forests in North Korea.
“We’re hoping that humanitarian action is allowed and reforestation should be allowed under that.”
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Reporting By Jane Chung; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise