|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
Clean Energy, Low-Carbon Economy Keys to Unlocking Door to Safer, More Peaceful,
Prosperous World, Secretary-General Tells Fourth World Future Energy Summit
Following are Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks to the Fourth World Future Energy Summit, in Abu Dhabi, today, 17 January:
In the past four years, the World Future Energy Summit has become one of the premier annual events on renewable and sustainable energy. I thank Masdar and the Government of Abu Dhabi for hosting it.
Abu Dhabi is becoming justifiably renowned as a hub of progress. You have brought remarkable wealth from the desert sands, and used it to create a vibrant modern nation. And your Masdar Initiative speaks of something more — a vision to build on and go beyond the age of fossil fuels to a new sustainable future. The decisions we make today on energy will have far-reaching consequences.
The prevailing fossil fuel-economy is contributing to climate change — and global energy needs are growing rapidly. In 20 years, energy consumption will rise by 40 per cent, mostly in developing countries, where 1.6 billion people still lack access to electricity, and where 3 billion people rely on traditional biomass fuels for cooking, heating, and other basic household needs.
Our challenge is transformation. We need a global clean energy revolution — a revolution that makes energy available and affordable for all. This is essential for minimizing climate risks, for reducing poverty and improving global health, for empowering women and meeting the Millennium Development Goals, for global economic growth, peace and security, and the health of the planet.
You can lead this revolution — and in many ways, many of you are already doing so. Last month in Cancun, Governments achieved good progress on climate change. On mitigation, they agreed to anchor their pledges in a formal, accountable international agreement. They agreed on an adaptation framework to protect the vulnerable, and on a mechanism for sharing green technologies. On finance, Governments made advances on fast-start and long-term funding. And on deforestation, which accounts for nearly one fifth of global carbon emissions, Governments agreed on an action plan, backed by the financial resources to implement it.
Taken together, these outcomes give us important tools. Yet of course, we have much further to travel. In Cancun, I stressed that all countries must strengthen national efforts to reduce emissions and strengthen climate resilience.
I am pleased to note that, even as climate negotiations continue, Governments are stepping up what they are doing. Masdar is just one of a growing number of initiatives in developed and developing countries that are bringing life to our vision of green, sustainable societies.
In China, a third of the stimulus package adopted in response to the global economic crisis was broadly environmental. China is now the world's second biggest user of wind power and the biggest manufacturer of solar photovoltaics. In countries as diverse as Rwanda, Costa Rica and Nepal, Governments are working to protect their forests, embrace renewable energy sources and develop a green vision for the future. And in my own country, [the Republic of] Korea, there are increasing public investments in renewable energy, clean technology and forestry. These are precisely the kinds of national actions we need to meet the climate challenge.
And let us be clear: national action need not wait for the negotiations to advance. In fact, such steps can actually help negotiators to produce the agreements we need.
In 2009, I established an Advisory Group on Energy and Climate Change, led by my colleague Kandeh Yumkella, the Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization. It includes His Excellency Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Chief Executive Officer of Masdar. The Group has recommended two bold but achievable targets for 2030 — universal access to modern energy sources and a 40 per cent increase in energy efficiency.
To achieve this, we must invest in the intellectual capital that will create new, green technologies. W e need to increase private and public spending on research and development, and Governments need to create the right incentives. We already have many of the technologies that we need. Others are in the pipeline. Indeed, many are on display here. They can inspire us to innovate further.
We are on the brink of an exciting, sustainable future. Clean energy for all. Achieving the target set by my Advisory Group could cost $35 billion a year over the next 20 years — a total of $700 billion. This sounds like a lot, but it is merely 3 per cent of projected global energy investment over the same period.
So let us pledge to invest wisely. We need to get our priorities right. People everywhere should be able to enjoy the health, educational and social benefits that modern energy sources offer. Investing in the green economy is not simply a luxury of the developed world. It represents an opportunity for job creation and economic growth in developing countries, and prosperity for all.
In Kenya, more than 30,000 small solar panels are sold annually. For as little as $100, the photovoltaic system can be used to charge a car battery, which can then power a mobile phone, TV or computer, or run a fluorescent lamp for a child to do homework by.
The motivation for making modern energy accessible to all is clear. Let us provide the means to do so.
Next year is the International Year for Sustainable Energy for All. It also marks 20 years since the Rio Earth Summit laid a blueprint for sustainable development. As we look forward to the Rio+20 Conference, let us be aware that clean energy and a low-carbon economy are among the keys to unlocking the door to a safer, more peaceful and prosperous world for all. We count on you — leaders of Governments, civil society and the private sector — to turn this vision into reality. Together, we can change the lives of billions of people.
Let us leave here energized.
* *** *