The United Nations and partners launched a $5 billion initiative yesterday to expand renewable energy capacity in Africa.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addressed the climate change conference (COP21) in Paris stating that saving energy is a triple-win in the battle against global warming. “The production and use of energy is responsible for more than half of the world's total greenhouse gas emissions. That means energy is also more than half of the solution. We need sustainable energy to reduce global greenhouse emissions and avert the risks of runaway climate change,” Mr. Ban said, stressing that clean energy is equally important for ending extreme poverty.
“Many people are now using modern energy for the first time thanks to a solar panel, a wind turbine, or a small hydro power plant. But, to replicate this experience for billions more people, we will need finance. Here in Paris, we have seen new major financing and clean energy solutions being launched by some of the world’s largest countries, companies and philanthropies. Let us build on these bold initiatives,” he declared.
COP21 held a thematic day on energy, with the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative (SE4All), urging Governments, businesses and financial institutions to act much faster and go much further to meet the ambitious goals of ensuring sustainable energy for all while keeping the global temperature rise within 2 degrees Celsius.
The Africa Renewable Energy Initiative to expand renewable capacity by 2020 and achieve universal access was just one of several launched yesterday. The Initiative is led by the African Union's NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa's Development) the African Group of Negotiators, the African Development Bank, the UN Environment Program (UNEP), and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
At least $5 billion in public and highly concessional finance between 2016 and 2020 from bilateral, multilateral and other sources, including the Green Climate Fund, will be needed to leverage a further $15 billion in other investments, for a total investment of at least $20 billion pre-2020.
Other initiatives launched included efforts to improve access to electricity and energy efficiency, and promote renewable energy.
Hundreds of Governments, businesses and financial institutions pledged major action on energy efficiency, recognising it as the basis of the energy transition.
More than 100 banks and a group of investors, managing close to $4 trillion in assets, committed to a major increase in energy efficiency lending in their portfolios. Led by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the UNEP Finance Initiative, this is a major undertaking toward the four-fold increase needed to realise the full energy efficiency potential for climate change