New York

16 September 2021

Deputy Secretary-General's video message to Energy Action Day

Excellencies, distinguished guests, and everyone watching around the world,

It is a pleasure to speak to you at this opening session of Energy Action Day.

Our need for action on energy has never been more urgent. This month’s High-Level Dialogue on Energy is perhaps overdue. 

It was 40 years ago - in Nairobi, Kenya – that the United Nations last hosted a major summit on energy.

Then we faced an oil crisis.

Today we face crises on multiple fronts.

Against the backdrop of our global health emergency, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has demonstrated that the climate crisis is speeding up at an alarming rate.

Decarbonisation of energy systems is the single most crucial element of the solution.

In fact, it is the only way to keep global heating within the limit of 1.5 degrees and avoid climate catastrophe.

And yet, while we struggle with the effects of inefficient and unsustainable energy, more than 750 million people have no access to electricity, and 2.6 billion – nearly a third of the world – lacks access to clean cooking solutions.

This situation is untenable.

And we have plans to solve it: the Paris Agreement, SDG7, and the roadmap for Net Zero Emissions by 2050.

But we must move from plans to action.  

In June, the Secretary-General called on every country, city, financial institution and company to raise ambition and submit Energy Compacts to achieve SDG7 and net zero emissions.

I congratulate those who will submit ambitious Compacts at next week’s High-level Dialogue on Energy. You are leading from the front, while leaving no one behind in this global energy transition.

I encourage all to answer the Secretary-General’s call.

The actions and commitments made today and over the next week must signal a new paradigm for decision-making, policy and action on renewable energy.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Today’s event is an important forum for sharing experiences and raising ambition.

I thank the organisers – Denmark, IRENA, UNEP and the World Economic Forum.

Please stay the course.

And I thank everyone who is joining us today – you are a critical part of this process.

We are rapidly running out of time.

I urge you to act with urgency and ambition to achieve our common goal of green, sustainable, renewable energy for all.

Thank you.