‘Global Clean Energy Revolution’ Needed to Address Climate Change, Achieve Sustainable Development, Says Secretary-General in London Summit Message

19 March 2010

‘Global Clean Energy Revolution’ Needed to Address Climate Change, Achieve Sustainable Development, Says Secretary-General in London Summit Message

19 March 2010
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

‘Global Clean Energy Revolution’ Needed to Address Climate Change, Achieve

Sustainable Development, Says Secretary-General in London Summit Message

Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message to the New Energy Finance Summit, held in London, 17-19 March, delivered by Kandeh Yumkella, Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO):

I am pleased to send my greetings to the New Energy Finance Summit.  The decisions we make today on our energy future will have far-reaching consequences.  To address climate change we need clean energy; to achieve sustainable development we need affordable energy for all.

According to the International Energy Agency, energy demand will increase by 40 per cent over the next 20 years, with the most notable rise occurring in developing countries.  We will need to invest $26 trillion to meet this demand.  How we spend these huge sums will say much about our priorities.

If we choose to invest in fossil fuel infrastructure, we will be committing to dangerously high levels of greenhouse gases for years to come.  To keep within the 2° Celsius temperature threshold -- the agreed global benchmark -- we need a global clean energy revolution.

Last year, my Advisory Group on Energy and Climate Change recommended dramatically scaling up energy efficiency, renewable energy resources and other low-carbon technologies.  To achieve this, we must invest in the intellectual capital that will create new, green technologies, and we must increase private and public spending on research and development.

We must also ensure that solutions to the energy and climate challenge work hand in hand with sustainable development efforts.  Some 1.6 billion people lack access to electricity.  Providing affordable, clean energy access for the poor is essential for meeting the Millennium Development Goals, for global economic growth and for the health of the planet.

Responsibility for solving the climate and energy crisis remains with national Governments and those sectors of society which influence the overall climate and energy picture -- foremost among them the finance and business communities.  The ultimate goal remains an effective, comprehensive global agreement that mandates significant emission cuts, provides assistance to the most vulnerable and helps catalyse clean energy growth, particularly in developing countries.

Last year’s Copenhagen accord was a step in the right direction, but we still have a long way to go.  As we wait for the formal dual-track negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to bear fruit, it is important that countries implement their national mitigation pledges without delay.

I also call on developed countries to provide the financial resources pledged at Copenhagen.  Some $30 billion is needed immediately for adaptation and mitigation support over the next three years in developing countries.  Looking forward, the commitment is $100 billion a year by 2020 for developing countries.  Taken together, these sums represent the largest Government-directed resource flows ever specifically dedicated to global climate mitigation and adaptation.  Significantly, they should also help to leverage still larger private capital flows and open up new markets.

To help mobilize this promised funding, I have established a high-level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing, co-chaired by Prime Minister Gordon Brown of the United Kingdom and Prime Minister Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia.  The Panel will look at how to generate new, innovative and additional resources from both public and private sources for clean energy and adaptation in developing countries.  Those resources will also be used to help fund the development and transfer of technology, and for capacity-building in developing countries, with priority to the most vulnerable.

This New Energy Finance Summit can play a valuable role in helping us to close the gap between what science says is needed and the political will and resources required to avoid dangerous climate change.  The countries and businesses that embrace clean energy stand to reap the most benefits.  They will be at the forefront of the twenty-first century global economy. 

I wish you a productive meeting.

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