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Net Zero Greenhouse Gas Emissions Vital amid Catastrophic Climate Change Scenario, Secretary-General Tells International Renewable Energy Agency Meeting

Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message to the ninth Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency, in Abu Dhabi today:

I am pleased to greet the ninth Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency.  You meet at a critical juncture.  Climate change is moving faster than we are.  The recent Special Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change outlined a catastrophic scenario if we do not act immediately to move from relying on fossil fuel energy to low-emission, resilient development.

The approval of the Paris Agreement Work Programme at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties in Katowice in December has provided a solid basis for all Parties to address climate change and shift from brown to green energy sources.  To heighten ambition and increase action, I am convening a Climate Summit in New York in September 2019.  One of the main sectors in which I expect transformative new commitments is renewable energy.

The momentum around renewable energy is enormous.  Solar photovoltaic technology alone has grown by a factor of 50 over the past decade and, in many countries, costs less than coal per megawatt.  Yet, we are still only at the beginning of the renewable energy revolution.  The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stresses that we must reach net zero emissions by 2050.  This will require that, at minimum, 63 per cent of the world’s energy supply is fuelled by renewable energy by 2050.

To reach the levels of renewable energy needed by mid-century, we must strengthen enabling environments and mobilize the finance that can accelerate the clean energy transition.  That transition must include off-grid and microgrid solutions, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and small island developing States, to ensure that we reach the furthest behind.

Your leadership is critical.  Let me take this opportunity to commend outgoing Director-General Adnan Amin for steering the International Renewable Energy Agency to become the global institution of excellence it is today.  I wish you a productive Assembly that will contribute to a sustainable future.

For information media. Not an official record.