UN Secretary-General Launches International Year of Sustainable Energy for All

by eccnsw - Monday, 16 January 2012

He described the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20) as the beginning of a multi-year mission to achieve sustainable energy for all, and called for a new energy future that harnesses the power of technology and innovation in the service of people and the planet.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that the 2012 International Year of Energy for All, which was declared by the UN General Assembly (UNGA), officially began on 16 January 2012. In his statement on the launch, during the WFES in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE), he recalled the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative that he established in 2011 as well as his three objectives to reach by 2030:

  1. ensuring universal access to modern energy services to all the people around the world;
  2. doubling the rate in improvement of energy efficiency; and
  3. doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix

Other speakers included the following:

Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, CEO Masdar, opened the Summit. Describing WFES as a platform for sharing experience and vision, Al Jaber offered examples of innovation and growth in the renewable energy sector including increases in wind power, greater solar capacity, and parallel cost reductions and technology improvements. He noted that despite budgetary cuts due to the global financial crisis, the renewable energy industry and green economies are important contributors to economic activity and growth. He highlighted the importance of regulatory frameworks to improve the efficiency of renewable energy technologies and reduce their costs, adding that renewable energy makes strategic sense.

Wen Jiabao, Premier, China, stressed the historic connection between harnessing energy and human progress. He explained China’s efforts to drive sustainable economic development, reduce greenhouse gas emissions despite already lower emissions per capita than developed countries, reduce energy consumption across several sectors, create new jobs, develop and install clean and efficient energy facilities, launch national energy conservation projects, and advocate low-carbon lifestyles. He said that China’s energy consumption per GDP has fallen by about 20% between 2005 and 2010, and there are plans to cut energy and carbon intensities by 16% and 17%, respectively, between 2010 and 2015. Wen said China plans to rely on domestic energy supplies and to keep energy consumption at a “reasonable level,” gradually increasing the contribution of renewable and nuclear energy. He said that China will continue to strengthen exchanges and cooperation with International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). He complimented UAE’s efforts in building a green economy, and said that China will work with the international community to foster sustainable innovation and energy.

Kim Hwang-sik, Prime Minister, Republic of Korea, described Korea’s low carbon, green growth strategy and shared Korea’s experience in green growth. He underscored that Korea invests 2% of its GDP annually in green technologies and aims to become the world’s fifth largest producer of green energy by 2030. He emphasized accelerating the worldwide spread of renewable energy and the replacement of fossil fuels. He commended the role of IRENA in promoting renewable energy technology and said Korea will continue to work with the UAE to further promote the use of renewable energy.

Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, President, UN General Assembly, highlighted the UN 2012 International Year of Sustainable Energy for All. He described providing low-cost energy as a tool to limit poverty, increase welfare, improve quality of life, and realize sustainable development. He encouraged capacity building and technology transfer for limiting greenhouse gas emissions and combatting climate change. He identified Rio+20 as an opportunity to promote the use of clean and renewable energy to create a more peaceful and sustainable world.