The mission requires inclusivity and sustainability

Columns

The mission requires inclusivity and sustainability

Antonio Guterres

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Print this page Email A Friend!


The following is the presentation made on the occasion of the COP26 Roundtable on Clean Power Transition on January 11, 2021:

The year ahead is going to be critical, not only in beating the novel coronavirus pandemic, but in meeting the climate challenge.

The central objective of the United Nations this year is to build a global coalition for carbon neutrality by the middle of the century.

All countries need credible mid-term goals and plans that are aligned with this objective.

The United Kingdom, as host of COP26, has a crucial role to play.

To achieve net zero emissions by 2050, we need an urgent transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. And we especially need to support developing countries in this shift.

So, I welcome any discussion and also the focus in Africa.

There are two clear objectives – inclusivity and sustainability. Some 789 million people across the developing world have no access to electricity at all. Three-quarters of these people live in sub-Saharan Africa. This is both an injustice and an impediment to sustainable development.

All nations need to be able to provide access to electricity for all. But that energy needs to be clean and renewable, so it does not contribute to the dangerous heating of our planet. That means strong commitment from all governments.

We need to end fossil fuel subsidies, put a price on carbon, and shift taxation from people to pollution. We need a commitment to build no more coal-fired power plants anywhere. And we need to see adequate international support so that African economies and other developing countries' economies can leapfrog polluting development and transition to a clean, sustainable energy pathway.

That is why I repeat my appeal to developed nations to fulfil their long-standing pledge to provide US$100 billion a year for developing countries to support both mitigation and adaptation.

The World Bank, the African Development Bank and national development banks must develop financial instruments that can reduce investment risks and attract private capital to African countries.

Let me also emphasise, with climate disruption already upon us, we must not neglect the vital importance of adaptation.

Africa's vulnerability is plain to see, from prolonged droughts in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa to devastating floods in southern Africa as it is the case in many other parts of the world. Adaptation is a moral imperative. It must not be the forgotten component of climate action.

Today, only 20 per cent of climate finance is for adaptation. Equal attention and investment must go to adaptation and resilience as well as mitigation.

The forthcoming climate adaptation summit on January 25 is an opportunity to generate momentum in this much neglected area.

Dear friends, huge amounts of money have been earmarked for COVID-19 recovery and stimulus measures. But sustainable investments are still not being prioritised. We must invest in a future of affordable renewable energy for all people, everywhere.

Funding needs to flow to renewables, just transition programmes, economic diversification plans, green bonds and other instruments that advance sustainability. To limit global temperature rise to 1.5-degrees Celsius, emissions need to fall by 7.6 per cent every year between now and 2030. This translates to an annual six per cent decrease in energy production from fossil fuels.

Yet, today, some countries are still going in the opposite direction. And they are being encouraged in that direction by some donors and international financial institutions. We need to reverse this trend.

The bottom line is that all public and private finance flows should support the goals of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. I particularly appeal to the private sector champions of renewable energy. Many are already building local, national and international networks. We need their know-how and their creativity to accelerate a renewable energy transition.

And let me emphasise, this must be a just and inclusive transition. That means training and reskilling and providing new opportunities.

A sustainable economy means better infrastructure, a resilient future, and millions of new jobs, especially for women and young people.

We have the opportunity to transform our world. But to achieve this we need global solidarity, just as we need it for a successful recovery from COVID-19.

Africa must be at the centre of this engagement. In a global crisis we protect ourselves best when we protect all. We have the tools. Let us unlock them with political will.

Antonio Guterres is the United Nations secretary general.


Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at http://bit.ly/epaper-login


ADVERTISEMENT




POST A COMMENT

HOUSE RULES

1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy



comments powered by Disqus
ADVERTISEMENT

Poll

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon
ADVERTISEMENT