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Accelerated action on energy needed to implement Paris

Leaders from a wide range of sectors came together on Friday, November 10, 2017 at COP23 Energy Day to announce a new set of initiatives to transition to renewable energy and to show that more ambitious clean energy development can quickly become a bigger part of national climate plans submitted under the Paris Agreement.

Rachel Kyte
Rachel Kyte, CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL)

“With the price of renewable and storage technologies tumbling, and greater understanding on how to set the policy table for a cleaner energy mix and more integrated energy planning, the question before decision makers is, why wait?” said Rachel Kyte, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and CEO, Sustainable Energy for All.

Success stories, action and new commitments shared during Energy Day at the COP23 UN Climate Change Conference from businesses, states, cities and forward-thinking countries continue to show ambition to ensure the clean energy transition is not only underway but is irreversible.

“Our pledge to leave no one behind is a critical component of the Paris Agreement. The energy transition that we can see is underway and must be a transition towards energy systems around the world that secure sustainable energy for all,” said Ms Kyte.

“This means placing energy efficiency first, adopting a laser like focus on ending energy poverty and using the renewable energy revolution to achieve universal access and a bending of the emissions curve. With each year, each COP, the health and economic impacts of carbon pollution are better documented and the science of what awaits us, if we continue on our current path, mounts,” she said.

Adnan Z. Amin, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Director-General, said: “Two-thirds of global greenhouse gas emissions stem from energy production and use, which puts the energy sector front and centre of global efforts to combat climate change. Our analysis shows that renewables and energy efficiency can together provide over 90 per cent of the mitigation needed in the energy system by 2050 to achieve the ambitions of the Paris Agreement, while also boosting the economy, creating jobs and improving human health and well-being.”

“We have a large, untapped, and affordable renewable energy potential waiting to be developed. Revising the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) gives countries an opportunity to take a fresh look at how to harvest this potential, not only for mitigation, but in light of the multiple socio-economic benefits of renewables, also for adaptation,” said Mr Amin.

Fatih Birol, International Energy Agency (IEA) Executive Director, said: “The transition of the energy sector in the next decades will be critical to meeting shared climate and sustainable development goals. Widespread action by governments and private sector alike has helped keep global energy-related emissions flat the last three years. Our analysis shows we can meet climate goals while achieving energy access and improving the environment.”

The central goal of the Paris Agreement is to keep the average global temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius and as close as possible to 1.5 degrees. About one degree of that rise has already happened, underlining the urgency to progress much further and faster with the global clean energy transformation.

Energy Day is organised by The Climate Group, IEA, IRENA and Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) as part of a series of thematic action days held under the auspices of the Marrakech Partnership.

Key announcements from the day include:

  • IRENA releases a new report, “Untapped Potential for Climate Action: Renewable Energy in Nationally Determined Contributions,” which finds that the renewable energy components of current national climate plans (NDCs) lag behind actual deployment trends, national energy targets and the cost-effective potential for accelerated deployment. The report suggests there is substantial scope for countries to cost-effectively increase the renewable energy ambitions set forth in their NDCs so that they are aligned with the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement.
  • The Climate Group announces new members to its recently launched EV100 campaign, a major new global electric transport initiative designed to make electric vehicles “the new normal.” The campaign is designed to utilise global business buying power to fast-track the roll-out of electric vehicles and infrastructure and address rising global transport emissions.
  • Some 13 countries and the International Energy Agency announced on November 7 the launch of the “IEA Clean Energy Transitions Programme,” a new multi-year, €30 million plan to support clean energy transitions around the world. Backed by IEA Member Countries committed to promoting the development of clean energy, this new programme will leverage the IEA’s unique energy expertise across all fuels and technologies to help accelerate global clean-energy transitions, particularly in major emerging economies.
  • The day consists of four sessions, covering: the state of the energy transition; policies needed to enable change; experiences of leaders around the world who are catalysing action; and recommendations for accelerating progress.

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