ABU DHABI, 18 January 2011 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today that 2012 will be the International Year for Sustainable Energy for All. He was speaking in Abu Dhabi at the World Future Energy Summit.
Ban called for a “a global clean energy revolution – a revolution that makes energy available and affordable for all”, adding that this was essential for minimizing climate risks, reducing poverty and improving global health, empowering women and meeting the Millennium Development Goals, for global economic growth, peace and security, and the health of the planet.
He reminded participants that next year will also mark twenty years since the Rio Earth Summit laid a blueprint for sustainable development.
“As we look forward to the Rio+20 Conference, let us be aware that clean energy and a low-carbon economy are among the keys to unlocking the door to a safer, more peaceful and prosperous world for all,” said Ban.
Ban was joined at the Summit by UNIDO Director-General, Kandeh K. Yumkella, who is a member of the Secretary-General’s official delegation, and one of Ban’s key advisors on energy issues.
In 2009, the Secretary-General established an Advisory Group on Energy and Climate Change (AGECC), which is headed by Yumkella. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, the Chief Executive Officer of Masdar, is a member of AGECC.
The Group has recommended two bold but achievable targets for 2030 -- universal access to modern energy sources and a 40 per cent increase in energy efficiency.
“To achieve this, we must invest in the intellectual capital that will create new, green technologies. We need to increase private and public spending on research and development, and Governments need to create the right incentives,” said Ban.
“We are on the brink of an exciting, sustainable future. Clean energy for all. Achieving the target set by my Advisory Group could cost 35 billion dollars a year over the next 20 years – a total of 700 billion dollars. This sounds like a lot, but it is merely 3 per cent of projected global energy investment over the same period. So let us pledge to invest wisely. We need to get our priorities right. People everywhere should be able to enjoy the health, educational and social benefits that modern energy sources offer."
“In the past four years, the World Future Energy Summit has become one of the premier annual events on renewable and sustainable energy,” said Ban Ki-moon as he thanked Masdar and the Government of Abu Dhabi for hosting it.
“Abu Dhabi is becoming justifiably renowned as a hub of progress. You have brought remarkable wealth from the desert sands, and used it to create a vibrant modern nation. And your Masdar Initiative speaks of something more – a vision to build on and go beyond the age of fossil fuels to a new sustainable future.”
Participants at the event noted that the decisions that are made today on energy will have far-reaching consequences, and that the prevailing fossil fuel-economy is contributing to climate change, and global energy needs are growing rapidly.
In 20 years, energy consumption will rise by 40 per cent -- mostly in developing countries, where 1.6 billion people still lack access to electricity, and where 3 billion people rely on traditional biomass fuels for cooking, heating, and other basic household needs.
Yumkella thanked the Secretary-General for his continued support and said that under his leadership "significant progress has been achieved in moving forward the political process on energy access, culminating in the General Assembly Resolution calling for designating 2012 as the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All".
During a visit to Masdar City, Director-General Yumkella said that "one of the key elements of the global campaign on energy access will be to seek international partnerships to support action for the implementation of the General Assembly Resolution and for scaling-up the uptake of clean energy technologies and innovative business models."
He added that in this regard, strategic partnership will be forged with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and Masdar.
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