Press Conference on Launch of Advisory Group on Energy and Climate Change

17 June 2009

Press Conference on Launch of Advisory Group on Energy and Climate Change

17 June 2009
Press Conference
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

press conference on launch of advisory group on energy and climate change

Strategies to promote clean, renewable energy, especially in the developing world, where poor communities remained heavily reliant on wood and charcoal for most of their fuel, must be included in the global climate change deal expected to be reached in Copenhagen in December, Kandeh Yumkella, Chairman of the Secretary-General’s newly-launched Advisory Group on Energy and Climate Change, said at Headquarters today.

Speaking at a press conference following the Advisory Group’s first meeting, he said the body would consider ways to comprehensively address climate change and boost energy efficiency and clean production, all with an eye on the developing world.  Mr. Yumkella is also Chairman of UN-Energy, an inter-agency mechanism, and Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

He said the Advisory Group was unique because its members were from both the public and private sectors and included top executives from Tata ( India), Suntech Holdings ( China), Edison International ( United States), the New Energy and Technology Development Organization ( Japan), and ESKOM Holdings ( South Africa).  It also featured renowned political figures, including Jose Figueres, former President of Costa Rica, as well as officials from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The participants were involved in or concerned with aspects of renewable energy development and clean energy production, energy research, and environmental sustainability, he said.  They had been chosen because it had become clear that a significant amount of climate change discussion must centre on energy, not only in terms of new technology, but also energy security and protecting developing countries from future spikes in the prices of fuels and commodities similar to those that had caused such turmoil a year ago.

Targeting developing countries was critical, he said, because although they certainly required help in tackling climate change, they also needed access to options for promoting better, cleaner consumption patterns.  Indeed, many parts of the developing world, especially urban areas, experienced the burning of charcoal, fuelwood and other biomass, which caused ecological damage and was now seen as a prime driver of pulmonary diseases and other respiratory-health complications, particularly among women and children.

Responding to questions, Mr. Yumkella said the Advisory Group would produce policy briefs which would be transmitted to the Secretary-General and his climate change team “to synthesize and see what is useful heading into Copenhagen”, where global stakeholders are set to meet in December to agree on a successor pact to the Kyoto Protocol, the first commitment period of which expires in 2012.  Those policy options would focus on integrating energy capacity, renewable energy and energy-efficiency applications in whatever deal emerged from Copenhagen.

He went on to say that the Advisory Group believed the talks on climate change and energy security were not moving fast enough, and that innovative ideas and initiatives generated by the private sector would be important in helping the Secretary-General use his “bully pulpit” to mobilize more –- and faster -- action.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.