New York, March 11 : Over 20 ministerial-level “Global Champions” from the UN member states have issued messages, calling for urgent action to achieve affordable, clean energy for all by 2030.
The messages were issued on Wednesday as the UN is launching a year of accelerated action, kicking off substantive preparations for heads of state and government high-level dialogue on energy in September.
The messages and virtual launch mark the start of deliberations by five Technical Working Groups that together will prepare a global roadmap for achieving affordable and clean energy for all (SDG 7) by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2050, to inform the Dialogue, a summit-level meeting to be convened by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
This will also be an important contribution to addressing the climate crisis, as energy consumption accounts for three-quarters of all greenhouse gas emissions.
“Renewable energy is a key dimension of climate action and is crucial for building a sustainable, prosperous and peaceful future,” said Guterres.
“Our challenge is clear: to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, the world must cut carbon emissions by at least 45 per cent below 2010 levels within the next decade. With the world way off track, we must use Covid-19 recovery to build a sustainable economy driven by renewable energy.
“If we want this energy transition to be just, and to succeed in creating new jobs, a cleaner and healthier environment and a resilient future, developing countries need strong support. This year’s High-Level Dialogue on Energy is an opportunity to advance practical solutions to accelerate the deployment of renewables globally and ensure that the developing world has access to them.”
In the months ahead, the Global Champion Ministers have agreed to take the lead in galvanizing voluntary commitments. These will take the form of Energy Compacts that national governments, cities, businesses and civil society organisations will present as contributions towards achieving SDG 7 and net-zero emissions, aligned with enhanced Nationally Determined Contributions and long-term climate goals under the Paris Agreement.
The global roadmap and Energy Compacts will put forward solutions not only for an energy transition away from fossil fuels, but also to meet the needs of about 800 million people who still lack access to electricity and the nearly three billion who lack clean, modern cooking and heating fuels.
Solid cooking fuels cause over 1.6 million premature deaths a year, mostly women and children, from indoor air pollution, in addition to their environmental impacts.
“The push this year on sustainable energy, leading up to the large-scale commitments we expect to be announced by many stakeholders in advance of the High-level Dialogue, should help us take a giant leap towards achieving SDG 7 by the 2030 deadline,” said Dialogue Secretary-General Liu Zhenmin, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs.
“This will bring us closer to net zero emissions by 2050.”
“We urgently need to scale up investment and financing to drive forward access to sustainable energy for all — a key element of the SDGs,” said Achim Steiner, Co-Chair of the High-level Dialogue and Administrator of the UN Development Programme.
“With the cost of renewables coming down dramatically, it makes sense economically for national and local governments, businesses and others to invest now in smart technologies, helping to create new green jobs and supporting a sustainable recovery.”
“During such a critical year for the energy transition, we need bold action to ensure we leave no one behind,” said his Co-Chair, Damilola Ogunbiyi, Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All.
Alongside the High-level Dialogue on Energy, 2021 will see a series of UN summits and conferences including the Global Sustainable Transport Conference, the Food Systems Summit, and the Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 26) that will provide major opportunities to advance the SDGs and the Paris Agreement.
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