New York

15 April 2015

Secretary-General's Remarks to the Future of Energy Summit 2015 [As prepared for delivery]

Mr. Michael Liebreich, Chief Executive, Bloomberg New Energy Finance,
Distinguished leaders of business and industry,
Ladies and gentlemen,

I am pleased to be back at this important Energy Summit. I thank the organizers, including Michael Bloomberg, who is my friend and UN Special Envoy for Climate Change and Cities.

Two years ago, at this Summit, I called for smart investments that align business opportunities with sustainable development.

I pushed for public-private cooperation.

And I urged action on climate change.

Since then, there has been enormous progress.

Some of you have been part of this global advance.

In September, hundreds of business leaders attended the Climate Summit at the United Nations.

They made bold commitments and forged partnerships to reduce emissions, move money and drive markets.

The private sector announced plans to mobilize more than $200 billion in financial assets for low-carbon and climate-resilient development.

More than one thousand investors joined scores of governments to support carbon pricing.

To put this in perspective, this [means that governments that support putting a price on carbon] collectively represented [nearly] more than half of global [population and] GDP – and more than half of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Today the stakes are even higher.

This year we have three major targets:

First: to complete the Millennium Development Goals – the biggest anti-poverty campaign in history.

Second: to adopt an ambitious new sustainable development agenda, with a set of sustainable development goals (SDGs).

And third: to reach a meaningful, universal agreement on climate change.

Our overarching goals are to eradicate extreme poverty, and to hold the global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius.

These goals are mutually reinforcing – and they can be achieved if we work together.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Energy is a story of global progress.

Last year, the world’s investments in renewable power and fuels spiked by more than 15 percent over 2013. In developing countries, these investments grew by more than one third.

But renewable energies still contribute less than 10 percent of global electricity.

Incentives can shift this forward.

Smart investors are opening new markets, facilitating new business models, and supporting entrepreneurs in developing countries.

I have met these innovators. In Kenya, I toured geothermal power projects. In Turkey, I drank coffee heated thanks to hydrogen energy technology.  At United Nations offices around the world, we are greening our own operations – because what is right for the planet is also smart for the budget.

This room is filled with talent.

You understand the importance of moving with the times.

Your interest in the future of energy is tied to your energetic passion for progress.

Governments have already signalled their support for transforming our approach to energy.

They are making energy a part of the new generation of sustainable development goals.

The United Nations Sustainable Energy for All initiative is joining governments and other partners, including business and finance leaders, to ensure universal access to modern energy services; double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency; and double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.

Our Global Energy [Efficiency] Accelerator Platform has the potential to double efficiency by 2030, save more than a gigaton of carbon emissions each year, and save tens of billions of dollars.

Our partnerships with banks and institutional investors can mobilize another $120 billion a year in sustainable energy investments.

These significant sums are just part of what is possible. I count on you help to realize the enormous potential out there.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Climate change is the defining issue of our age.

It is also a phenomenal economic opportunity.

The moment of truth comes this December at the Climate Change Conference in Paris.

There, we have to leverage private sector investments in climate change.

Right now, infrastructure and sustainability are treated separately.

But they belong together.

Long-term investments have to be sustainable or we will head down the wrong path.

We need to literally build a new future with investments.

  The United Nations estimates that disaster risk levels will cost the world more than $300 billion each year in damage to commercial and residential buildings.

The private sector will take the biggest hit – paying 85 per cent of that price tag.

But we can change the equation.

Investing $6 billion each year in disaster risk reduction can save up to $360 billion over 15 years.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The Paris Conference will only succeed with a strong, credible climate finance package.

All of you can help move this process forward.

You are invited to the second United Nations Sustainable Energy for All Forum, which I am convening in New York next month. There, we can advance climate finance and sustainable energy for all.

We will have to have a realistic plan to mobilize $100 billion dollars by 2020 and provide $100 billion dollars each year.

We need our Green Climate Fund to be up and running and I am hopeful that the first projects will be disbursed before COP 21.

And we need a comprehensive finance package for the least developed countries and small island developing countries.

With credit enhancement, these countries can tap into capital markets.

And with better risk insurance plans and incentives, we can boost private investments. That will help everyone – from local families to national economies to multinational corporations.

We can drive our global economy on a path to low-carbon growth. Carbon pricing is one factor. So is a phase-out of inefficient subsidies for fossil fuels. And with stronger energy efficiency standards, everyone will benefit.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The United Nations is dealing with many problems I have not discussed today.

You read them in the headlines: terrorism, conflict, organized crime – sometimes all three at once.

I am here because fundamentally, challenges to peace are challenges to human dignity.

Your support for the United Nations on energy will help us to realize a life of dignity for all – and light the way to peace and progress.

Thank you.