Excerpt from reliefweb.int
Following are UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ remarks to the High‑level Dialogue on Energy, held today:
Welcome to the High‑level Dialogue on Energy. This event is long overdue. It has been 40 years since we last discussed energy at the highest level.
Today, we face a moment of truth. Close to 760 million people still lack access to electricity. Some 2.6 billion people lack access to clean cooking solutions. And how we produce and use energy is the main cause of the climate crisis. Emissions from energy account for about 75 per cent of total greenhouse gas emissions. So, we have a double imperative – to end energy poverty and to limit climate change.
And we have an answer that will fulfil both imperatives: affordable, renewable and sustainable energy for all. This is the objective of Sustainable Development Goal 7 – investing in clean, affordable energy for all will improve the well‑being of billions of people. It can create the green jobs that we urgently need for COVID‑19 recovery. It will advance all the Sustainable Development Goals. And it is the single most important solution to avert climate catastrophe.
We have the tools we need. Solar photovoltaics are now the cheapest power source in most countries. And renewables yield three times more jobs than the fossil fuel sector. Solar and wind are the stars of our energy system. During the COVID‑19 pandemic, they have been the only sources of energy that continued to grow.
But it’s not nearly fast enough. We are still a long way from being able to provide affordable and clean energy for all. In 11 sub‑Saharan countries alone, one quarter of health facilities lack access to electricity. Globally, as many as 9 out of 10 people breathe polluted air, leading to some 8 million premature deaths each year. And disasters made worse by climate change are increasing. Access to clean, renewable energy is, quite simply, the difference between life and death.