At the recently concluded United Nations, Sustainable Energy For All Forum (SE4All), world leaders, non-profits, and representatives of various corporate organizations working for expanding the use of renewable, sustainable energy sources got together. The growth potential of investment in sustainable energy sources is being considered huge for the next few decades. As per Kandeh Yumkella, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Sustainable Energy for All and CEO of the SE4All Initiative, sustainable energy for everyone on our planet is a trillion-dollar investment opportunity, and will result in very lucrative gains for countries and organizations investing in the technology at this point of time.
Yumkella called for accelerated efforts from all quarters to contribute to the sustainable energy revolution. He mentioned that it has taken the world two decades to make energy the main topic of discussion in the development agenda. He said that the reason why the world could not discuss energy amicably for such a long time was because of political issues. He clarified that it takes strong leadership, and massive political will to change an energy system that the world has been dependent on for more than a century now. He declared that only through a combination of public policy awareness, correct political measures, public-private partnerships, and apt pricing, was the international community now able to develop a structured narrative of sustainable energy for all.
However, Yumkella also warned that the time for implementation was now, and all the UN Member States would need to take action at regional and national levels. He stressed that it was not about helping out the poverty-stricken areas of the world. It was about the sustainable energy revolution that the world will have to participate in to safeguard our planet. He said that it will make sure that the rich, as well as people across racial and economic divide use energy differently. He asserted that emissions from a few countries will take the world towards climate hell. However, it will be the poor sections of the society which will be the sufferers if everyone does not make proper use of energy. The special representative’s address at the United Nations General Assembly Hall was met with a thundering applause.
The Acting President of the General Assembly, Kaha Imnadze, while speaking at the conference said that the international community would greatly contribute to improving people’s livelihoods, protecting our planet, addressing climate change, and the economic transformation of the world by ensuring access to reliable, affordable, modern, and sustainable energy for all. He said that it is important that governments across the world prioritize the use of clean energy, higher energy efficiency, and energy access to all in their nation’s development strategies and plans. He said that the world needs institutional frameworks and appropriate policies to spur further advances, and encourage investment in the development of clean-energy technology which is a trillion-dollar opportunity.
The latest report released by World Bank titled, Progress Toward Sustainable Energy: Global Tracking Framework 2015, suggests that close to 1.1 billion people in the world today live without any electricity supply. Around 3 billion people still use polluting fuels like wood, dung, charcoal, and kerosene. The report goes on to say that the generation of renewable energy, and improvements in energy efficiency will have to be accelerated as it gains momentum. As per the report presented on the opening day of the SE4All forum by the World Bank, the need of the hour is for policy makers around the world to adopt newer methods of quantifying energy access by replacing the traditional measures. One of the methods that are currently being used to measure this access, which causes ambiguity in the quality of energy services, is the presence of an electricity connection in the household.
Apart from this, a three-time increase in investments in harnessing renewable, sustainable energy from the present level of around $400 billion to close to $1.25 trillion is required. The World Bank report also called for an increased effort to address the link between energy and other development sectors including agriculture, health, gender, and water. The transfer of technology and knowledge for harnessing sustainable energy will lead to a better understanding of the linkages. This will be crucial for achieving development goals and SE4All which is a trillion-dollar investment opportunity for the world.
By Ankur Sinha
Author: Eyewitness account
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