Focus on Cutting Emissions, Achieving Climate Justice, Deputy Secretary-General Says in Remarks to Oslo Energy Forum
Following are UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed’s remarks at the Oslo Energy Forum, in Oslo, Norway, today:
It is my pleasure to address the Oslo Energy Forum on its fiftieth anniversary. Throughout the past half century, your discussions in this forum have positioned Norway to gather world industry leaders in the energy sector to shape a new future for the sector that achieves net-zero emissions, while ensuring energy security, reliable access and affordability globally.
While many have gained from the fossil fuel industry, many also have suffered on all sides of the energy trilemma; some for decades with no end in sight. So, we meet here, again, amidst a world in even more turmoil, to find solutions and opportunities to secure clean energy access for all by 2030 and reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
Unprecedented shocks, COVID-19 [and] the war in Ukraine are severely disrupting our ability to act swiftly and decisively to address the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution.
We are fast running out of time to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, deliver on the Paris Agreement and secure a 1.5°C future. Piecemeal measures will not work — we need a holistic approach that addresses both the urgency and scale of the crisis.
This is true for Europe — where each country should determine their climate pathway in a way that balances the needs of their people, nature and the economy. And it is true for countries across the Global South, who must secure energy access and affordability while ensuring a just and sustainable transition away from polluting fossil fuels.
As Governments around the world work to realign priorities and policies to counter imminent and emerging threats, we must ensure that people are always at the centre of our endeavours.
Today, 733 million people globally live without access to electricity. Achieving universal access to electricity for all by 2030 requires increasing the number of new power connections by 100 million a year. This in turn requires a multilevel governance, planning and investment approach to address climate adaptation, sustainable infrastructure and storage across many — often rural affecting women — parts of the world.
The challenge is to end energy poverty while advancing on sustainable development; to achieve economic and social welfare without destroying ecosystems. Above all, we must focus on two urgent outcomes: cutting emissions and achieving climate justice.
We must have an energy mix that phases out fossil fuels especially coal and ramps up renewables to put countries on track to achieve net-zero energy emissions by mid-century.
The Just Energy Transition Partnerships that are being implemented in South Africa, Indonesia and Viet Nam are useful precedents to show the path to accelerate the just, equitable and clean energy transitions we need everywhere. But, they, too, are still a work in progress and we learn every day from the challenges that they face.
Following the twenty-seventh Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Secretary-General has called for a climate solidarity pact between developed countries and emerging economies. We need a solidarity pact to accelerate our journey to secure sustainable energy for all. This requires action across three fronts.
First, finance. Unprecedented levels of funding, both public and private, are required. We must urgently reduce the cost of capital for renewable energy projects which can be seven times higher in developing than in developed countries.
Second, scale and speed. To deliver on the energy transition at speed and scale, we need to enhance the flexibility and reliability of our energy systems. This includes investments in battery storage and other key infrastructure while promoting a circular economy.
Third, supply and access. To develop a viable global energy industry that meets the needs of the transition, a robust supply chain of — and access to — components and critical materials is essential. We need to ensure the energy industry respects standards in sustainability and delivers for all, especially the most vulnerable groups.
Across all of this and more, we need the participation of leaders from government at all levels, the private sector, civil society, youth and women. A division of labour across common ground.
I am inspired by this gathering of senior decision-makers. You come from a range of sectors, and you are united by a common purpose. We must continue to take up this global opportunity and seize the opportunities at the regional and country levels. We must be bold and generous with funding and technology to support countries to adapt and advance their Sustainable Development Goals.
We must ensure the outcomes from our discussions today will be heard loud and clear at the Sustainable Development Goals Stock-Take Summit and the Climate Ambition Summit in September so that we may keep the promises made in 2015. Together, let us work towards a sustainable future for all, leaving no one behind.