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Renewables, solution to global climate catastrophe – UN Chief

By Yemi Olakitan

United Nations` Secretary-General, António Guterres, has called on states, including Nigeria, to adopt renewables to tackle climate change.

Guterres said this in a video message to the 13th Session of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Assembly, which took place in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

He said, “Only renewables can guarantee our future, eliminate the energy access gap, stabilise prices and assure energy security.”

The theme of the assembly was “World Energy Transition – The Global Stocktake”.

Guterres raised concern that the world is still addicted to fossil fuels and the 1.5-degree objective is slipping away as global leaders and stakeholders plan the first Global Stocktake at COP28 later this year in UAE.

Current measures will cause 2.8 degrees of global warming by 2100. Consequences are dire. Our world will have inhospitable areas.
“This is a death sentence for many,” he warned.

He presented a five-step energy transition plan:

“First, we must eliminate intellectual property obstacles and make renewable technology, including energy storage, worldwide public goods. Second, we must diversify and expand renewable technology raw material and component supply chains without harming the environment. This can produce millions of green jobs, especially for developing-world women and youth.

“Third, decision-makers must streamline permits for global sustainable initiatives and update networks. Fourth, fossil fuel subsidies must switch to renewable, affordable energy. “Fifth, governmental and private renewable energy investments should triple to at least $4 trillion a year,” he said.

He said global leaders must collaborate to lower renewable energy capital costs, especially in poor nations like Nigeria, and provide finance to those who need it.

He urged multilateral development banks to engage extensively in renewable energy infrastructure, take more risks, and leverage private funding, adding that wealthy countries must work with credit agencies to scale up green investments in underdeveloped countries.

This Assembly’s programme is founded on IRENA Director-General Francesco La Camera’s belief that renewable energy transitions may bring about constructive change.

“With COP28 in UAE, we will explore how to connect our actions around energy transition priorities to feed into the 1st Global Stocktake process that will end at COP28 in Dubai later this year.”

La Cameraadmits that we have limited time to address climate change and achieve sustainable development.

“Our overlapping challenges require concerted global action, founded on multilateralism, to emerge stronger and more unified in attaining our common goals,”

He added the IRENA Assembly drives a global energy agenda.

Masdar Chairman and COP28 president Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber stressed the importance of renewable energy to combat climate change.

“Over the past 15 years, the UAE has invested 50 billion dollars in renewable energy and aims to invest another 15 billion in the future.

“Over 70% of our [UAE] economy is created outside the oil and gas industry,” he said.

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