The world is celebrating the first ever International Day of Clean Energy. The day is aimed at spotlighting the significance of adopting clean energy and to promote awareness of transition to clean energy for betterment and development of the people and planet.
Energy lies at the core of a double challenge, which leaves no one behind and protecting the planet, and clean energy is crucial to its solution.
The International Day of Clean Energy was declared by the United Nations General Assembly to be observed on 26th January annually. It calls for raising awareness and mobilizing action for a just and inclusive transition to clean energy for a better future for the planet and its inhabitants.
This day also marks the founding date of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). IRENA is a global intergovernmental agency established to support countries in their energy transitions.
In a world grappling with climate change, clean energy plays a vital role in reducing emissions. It also benefits communities lacking access to reliable power sources. Still today, approximately 675 million people live in the dark, also 4 in 5 people in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The connection between clean energy, socio-economic development, and environmental sustainability is crucial in addressing issues faced by vulnerable communities worldwide.
But adopting clean energy is integral to the fight against climate change, as well. A large chunk of the greenhouse gases that blanket the Earth and trap the Sun’s heat are generated through energy production, by burning fossil fuels (oil, coal, and gas) to generate electricity and heat.
Statement of UN Secretary General
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in a statement that clean energy is the gift that keeps giving, it can purify polluted air, meet growing energy demand, secure supplies.
Furthermore, it connects billions of people to affordable power, helping to ensure electricity access to all by 2030. That is all while saving money and saving the planet.
In addition, he added that a fair, just, equitable, and urgent transition from dirty fossil fuels to clean energy is essential to avoid the worst of climate chaos and spur sustainable development.
The Secretary General applauded the work of the International Renewable Energy Agency while celebrating the first International Day of Clean Energy. Moreover, he appreciated the call made by countries at COP28 to triple renewable energy capacity by 2030.
Antonio Guterres said that it is his firm belief that fossil fuel phase out is not only necessary, but is inevitable. We need governments to act, to accelerate the transition, with the biggest emitters to lead the way.
Subsequently, that means unleashing a surge in climate finance. Particularly, governments reform the business model of multilateral development banks so that affordable finance flows.
Also, it means countries creating new national climate plans by 2025 that map a fair and just transition to clean power. And it means governments closing the door on the fossil fuel era, with justice and equity.
Lastly, our clean energy future is unstoppable. Together, let’s bring it into being faster.
At the same time, improving energy efficiency is key. Using less energy for the same output, through more efficient technologies in the transport, building, lighting, and appliances sectors saves money, cuts down on carbon pollution, and helps ensure universal access to sustainable energy for all.
Although this situation has been improving, the world is not on track to achieve SDG7, which aims to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030.
The United Nations General Assembly will hold a Global Stocktaking on SDG7 in April 2024 to assess progress and recommend solutions.