UN Secretariat adopts climate action plan

The United Nations Secretariat has adopted a new 10-year Climate Action Plan aimed at transforming its operations to achieve a 45 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and sourcing 80 per cent of electricity from renewable energy by 2030. The plan is aligned with the United Nations system sustainability management strategy (2020-2030) and the recommendations of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The Plan outlines two main types of interventions to achieve these targets. The first entails acceleration of current efforts focusing on reducing consumption through behavioural change, enhancing energy efficiency, connecting to existing renewable grids where available, and a limited further shift towards renewable energy self-generation (“intensification track”). The second involves transformative change through innovative and complex solutions that will require external partnerships, including scaling up new technology and purchasing renewable energy from not-yet-developed third-party-owned facilities ("innovation track"). Sustained communication and outreach will support both the "intensification" and "innovation" efforts. 

Through its own transformative10-year journey, the UN Secretariat is seeking to catalyze the development of new climate smart infrastructure to meet the energy needs of its peace operations and the local communities it serves. The UN welcomes partnerships with climate champions that share its vision.

An abbreviated version of the plan is available online. Following are the eight targets identified in the Plan to drive the Secretariat's climate action:

  1. Carbon emissions: Absolute and per capita reductions of 25% by 2025 and 45% by 2030.
  2. Electricity consumption: Per capita reductions of 20% by 2025 and 35% by 2030.
  3. Renewable energy:  40% by 2025 and 80% by 2030 of consumed electricity.
  4. Commercial air travel: Per capita emissions reductions of 10% by 2025 and 15% by 2030.
  5. Events: 100% of events (over 300 participants) meet established sustainability standards.
  6. Climate neutrality: 100% of unavoidable carbon emissions are offset yearly from 2019 via certified carbon credits.
  7. Operational efficiencies: demonstrated long term economic benefits from the Plan implementation.
  8. Sustainable Development co-benefits: demonstrated increase in climate smart infrastructure and other sustainable development benefits to local communities from Plan implementation.