Secretary-General Urges Big Greenhouse Gas Emitters to Form Climate Solidarity Pact, Stressing Renewables ‘Only Credible Path Forward’ for Securing Humankind’s Future
Following is the text of United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres’ video message to the thirteenth session of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Assembly “World Energy Transition — The Global Stocktake”, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, today:
Excellencies, I am pleased to greet the thirteenth session of the Assembly of the International Renewable Energy Agency.
As you gather to take stock of the world’s energy transition, one clear fact stands out: Our world is still addicted to fossil fuels with the 1.5°C goal fast slipping out of reach. Under current policies, we are headed for 2.8°C of global warming by the end of the century. The consequences will be devastating. Several parts of our planet will be uninhabitable. And for many, this is a death sentence.
If we are to avert climate catastrophe, renewables are the only credible path forward. Only renewables can safeguard our future, close the energy access gap, stabilize prices and ensure energy security.
Today, their share in global electricity is about 30 per cent. That must double to over 60 per cent by 2030 and 90 per cent by 2050. And it is possible — if we act now. To help get us there, I have put forward a Five-point Energy Plan for a just transition.
First — we must remove intellectual property barriers and treat key renewable technologies, including energy storage, as global public goods. Second — we must diversify and increase access to supply chains for raw materials and components for renewables technologies, without degrading our environment. This can help create millions of green jobs, especially for women and youth in the developing world. Third — decisionmakers must cut the red tape, fast-track approvals for sustainable projects worldwide and modernize grids. Fourth — energy subsidies must shift from fossil fuels to clean and affordable energy. And we must support vulnerable groups affected by this transition. And fifth — public and private investments in renewables should triple to at least $4 trillion a year.
Today, most investments in renewables are in the developed world. The price of renewable technologies can be seven times higher in developing countries. We must all work together to reduce the capital cost for renewables — and ensure that financing flows to those who need it most.
Multilateral development banks must play their part by investing massively in renewable energy infrastructure, taking on more risks, and leveraging private finance. Developed countries must work with credit agencies to scale up green investments in developing countries. And I urge Ministers of Energy and others to promote ambitious national policies and greater social and economic equity, including by taxing the windfall profits of those exploiting today’s energy crisis.
Excellencies, I welcome the Just Energy Transition Partnerships that have been established to support Viet Nam, Indonesia and South Africa. Such initiatives are a critical first step. But we must go faster and further. This is why I have called for a Climate Solidarity Pact in which all big emitters make an extra effort to reduce emissions this decade and ensure financial and technological support for countries that need it.
Together, let’s jumpstart a renewables revolution and create a brighter future for all.