Secretary-General's remarks at the Magnum Photos Sustainable Energy for All Exhibit [as prepared for delivery]
New York, 26 November 2013
I am pleased to be with you to see this exhibit by some of the world’s best photographers.
Sustainable energy is the golden thread that connects economic growth, social equity, a stable climate and a healthy environment.
Energy powers growth and opportunity. It makes all other development goals possible -- from reducing poverty to powering essential health services and providing light for children to learn.
When I was growing up, I studied by candlelight or kerosene lamp. Our family did not have the benefit of modern energy.
Today, one person in five still lacks access to electricity. More than a third of humanity relies on wood, charcoal, animal and crop waste or other solid fuels for cooking and heating.
Some 4 million people die each year from the effects of inhaling toxic smoke. A vastly higher number have their health impaired.
We need to make modern energy services available to all. But we have to do so sustainably.
Our current energy systems are not sustainable. The global thermostat is rising, threatening development goals and economies small and large.
We need a transformation in how we produce, use and share energy.
That is why I launched Sustainable Energy for All in 2011.
We have three objectives to be accomplished by 2030: ensuring universal access to modern energy services; doubling efforts to improve efficiency; and doubling the share of renewables in the overall global energy mix.
Taken together, these goals can help to usher in a low-carbon future where opportunity beckons for all.
This exhibit highlights the need for sustainable solutions, and the fact that they exist.
It tells us that “We Have the Power” to provide efficient, renewable and affordable energy.
I hope it inspires many and helps to generate even greater momentum for Sustainable Energy For All.
Statements on 26 November 2013