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Public Officials, CEOs announce Huge Push on Clean, Efficient Energy

Some nations, the private sector, cities and international organizations have announced major new initiatives on greening urban energy as part of activities to mark Energy Action Day.

This is spurred by the realisation that the world has less than nine years to achieve the goal of ensuring clean energy for all, and is falling behind.

Transformational energy transitions require dramatically upscaling renewable energy and energy efficiency, while equally downscaling and phasing out coal and other fossil fuels. This, coupled with innovation, is what’s necessary to meet the global decarbonization goal required to achieve net-zero by 2050, said the World Economic Forum.

At a virtual event, which took place ahead of the UN High-Level Dialogue on Energy, aimed to accelerate collective action towards net-zero and climate-resilient energy systems, nations reflected on the need to begin phasing out fossil fuels and ramping up hydrogen technologies. The Energy Action Day was jointly hosted by Denmark, IRENA, UNEP and the World Economic Forum.

“We have less than nine years to go. Nine years to achieve the goal of ensuring clean energy for all. We have no time to waste if we want to keep 1.5 degrees within reach. We have to start today: raise our ambitions, learn from each other and speed up our green efforts. Denmark hosted this Energy Action Day so we can do precisely this,” Mette Frederiksen, Danish Prime Minister, stated in her opening remarks.

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Coming just two months before the 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, the event saw the launch of the Urban Energy Coalition and the Green Hydrogen Compact Catalogue and an announcement on the creation of the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA) amongst others.

COP26 President-Designate the Alok Sharma MP delivered a call to action to all countries to consign coal to history in Glasgow by phasing out existing coal power plants, committing to no new coal power plants, putting an end to international coal financing, instead of working to scale up clean power alternatives.

“Ahead of COP26 and at the summit itself, we need governments to make those strong, clear commitments to end polluting coal generation and prioritise clean power. We urge countries to put an end to coal power, by phasing out existing plants, committing not to build any new ones, and putting an end to international coal finance. And we need all investors, acting on our shared responsibility, to protect our planet. And we need to keep building up the international collaboration, at COP26 and indeed beyond it to accelerate the clean energy revolution over this vital decade,” he stated.

Energy transition key to better future

As highlighted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) last month, humanity’s continued dependence on fossil fuels is warming the world. The consequences – such as droughts, wildfires and floods – are already here and will only intensify without action.

The energy sector accounts for approximately 65 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions, which need to be halved by 2030 and eliminated by 2050 to stay on track to head off the worst impacts of climate change. Meanwhile, over 750 million people lack access to electricity and 2.6 billion still cook and heat with wood, charcoal, and other unhealthy fuels.

“Today, hundreds of millions of people struggle with energy poverty. We must provide everyone with energy equity and connectivity. The IPCC has sounded a code red for humanity. We must urgently and rapidly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, otherwise, the same people will suffer the most on hothouse Earth”, said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). “The new initiatives announced at Energy Action Day are important steps towards achieving the transition.”

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