Mr. Wu Hongbo Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs

Opening Remarks
2016 Global Energy Interconnection Conference

Your Excellency, Mr.Wang Yong, State Councillor of the People’s Republic of China,
Your Excellency, Mr.Liu Zhen Ya, Chairman of SGCC,
Excellencies,
Distinguished Participants,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure for me to address the 2016 Global Energy Interconnection (GEI) Conference.

On 26 September 2015, President Xi Jinping announced at the UN Sustainable Development Summit that China will propose discussions on establishing a Global Energy Interconnection mechanism to facilitate efforts to meet global energy demand with clean and green alternatives.

His announcement was broadly applauded by world leaders and elicited a strong positive response.

This conference will take the lead and play an important role in disseminating the concept of GEI, promoting the development of clean energy and tackling climate change.

Indeed, these actions are among the priorities of the United Nations, together with our renewed efforts at achieving world peace and security in the broader context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Let me elaborate on these priorities.

First: fighting climate change.

Global temperatures have increased by more than 1 degree Celsius compared to before the industrial revolution.

Climate change has become one of the most urgent challenges facing humanity. The fundamental cause of climate change is fossil fuel consumption.

In nearly 50 years, the world’s annual consumption of fossil fuels had more than doubled, reaching 16 billion tons of coal-equivalent consumption.

Despite this increase, billions of people still lack access to basic modern energy services. To achieve the energy Sustainable Development Goal of “ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all,” global energy supplies need to continue growing at a rapid pace.

However, the current world energy system dominated by fossil fuels is not sustainable. We must find a transformative and sustainable energy development approach based on other energy fuel alternatives.

Facing the climate challenge, the international community has taken action.

Since the First World Climate Conference in 1979, and continuing under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the international community has redoubled efforts to address the challenge of climate change, culminating in the 2015 “Paris Agreement”.

The Agreement calls for maintaining the global temperature rise within 2 degrees Celsius, and striving to control it within 1.5 degrees.

To achieve this goal, it is critical to speed up the development of the world’s leading clean energy technologies to create a new pattern of sustainable energy use that addresses energy security and climate change.

This brings me to my second point – GEI.

The United Nations has been working toward sustainable energy for all and is embarking on a difficult but promising journey to achieve SDGs, including the energy SDG and related targets.

In this regard, we recognize GEI as an important effort for speeding up energy efficiency and energy transformation, while advancing clean energy development and addressing climate change.

Through GEI, renewable energy could eventually achieve its full potential in meeting the world energy demand, providing sufficient sustainable energy supplies, so that everyone could equally benefit from modern energy services, ultimately achieving the goal of “sustainable energy for all”.

Many developing countries and regions in Africa, Asia, and Latin America are rich in renewable energy resources such as wind, solar and hydro. Through GEI, those resources could be converted into economic advantage that would benefit all, narrow regional gaps, and make a significant contribution to the peaceful and harmonious development of the world.

Excellencies,

In response to climate change, we note with appreciation that the Chinese government has made a solemn commitment – that is: carbon dioxide emissions in China will peak around the year 2030.

Development of GEI is an important measure to achieve emission reduction targets, reflecting China’s responsibility and role.

Since the 21st century, China has achieved remarkable results in promoting clean energy development. The proportion of fossil-fuel energy consumption was reduced by 5 percent while wind power and photovoltaic power generation capacity ranked first in the world.

The State Grid Corporation of China became the largest power grid to distribute wind and photovoltaic power. These efforts have made important contributions to the world’s energy transformation and to coping with climate change.

The United Nations family welcomes the efforts to promote innovation and development of GEI.

The construction of GEI is in line with the common interests of the world, by facilitating the joint development of a clean energy base and development of transnational and transcontinental energy network.

It is our hope that the Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organizations (GEIDCO), if established, will play an important role in leading innovation and development of GEI and providing international exchanges and cooperation among international organizations, research institutions, universities and energy organizations.

In this regard, I wish you the best in your deliberations and I look forward to the successful outcome of this conference.

Thank you.

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