NEW DELHI: India has said the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of achieving affordable and clean energy for all will require concerted global action, strong political commitment as well as innovative ways of expanding energy access and promoting renewable energy.
“We have about 10 years to attain Sustainable Development Goal number seven, and ensure access to affordable, reliable and sustainable energy for all,” minister of state for power and new and renewable energy Raj Kumar Singh said on Wednesday.
Speaking at the virtual launch of the UN High Level Dialogue on Energy, Singh said that attainment of SDG 7 which aims to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all, “will require concerted action across the world.”
“It will also require strong political commitment and innovative ways of expanding energy access, promoting renewable energy and increasing energy efficiency”, he said.
Singh emphasised that the challenges lying in the way of attaining SDG7 are huge but expressed confidence that “collectively we can meet the challenges and ensure a clean energy future for generations to come.”
He stressed that the international community needs to join hands and make efforts to make this “truly a year of energy action.”
Over 20 ministerial-level ‘Global Champions’ from UN member states issued messages on Wednesday calling for urgent action to achieve affordable, clean energy for all by 2030. The messages were issued as the UN is launching a year of accelerated action, kicking off substantive preparations for a heads of state and government high-level dialogue on energy in September 2021, the UN said in a statement.
The messages and virtual launch mark the start of deliberations by five Technical Working Groups that together will prepare a global roadmap for achieving affordable and clean energy for all (SDG 7) by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2050, to inform the Dialogue, a summit-level meeting to be convened by UN secretary-general António Guterres.
The five groups are Energy Access, Energy Transition, Enabling SDGs through Inclusive, Just Energy Transitions, Innovation, Technology and Data and Finance and Investment. India, along with Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Denmark, Germany, Nigeria, Spain and the United Kingdom, is the Global Champion for the Energy Transition track.
Singh added that as one of the global champions in the high level dialogue on energy, India looks forward to working with all stakeholders, other governments, multilateral organisations, non-governmental and the private sectors.
He stressed that the private sector in particular will have to play a very important role in scaling up action for the energy transition and promoting objectives of SDG 7. “It is only a collective effort that can enable the energy transition at a faster pace. We hope that India’s achievements in both ensuring universal access and promoting renewable energy will serve as examples to others,” he said.
Singh outlined efforts undertaken in India to promote renewable energy, saying the country has introduced several steps for the rapid deployment of grid connected renewable energy plants, as well as citizen-centric measures like Pradhan Mantri-Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthan (PM-KUSUM) scheme for solarisation of agriculture.
In a message on the launch, Guterres said renewable energy is a key dimension of climate action and is crucial for building a sustainable, prosperous and peaceful future. “Our challenge is clear: to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, the world must cut carbon emissions by at least 45 per cent below 2010 levels within the next decade. With the world way off track, we must use Covid-19 recovery to build a sustainable economy driven by renewable energy,” he said.
The UN chief stressed that if nations want this energy transition to be just, and to succeed in creating new jobs, a cleaner and healthier environment and a resilient future, developing countries need strong support.
“This year’s High-Level Dialogue on Energy is an opportunity to advance practical solutions to accelerate the deployment of renewables globally and ensure that the developing world has access to them,” he said.
The UN statement added that in the months ahead, the Global Champion ministers have agreed to take the lead in galvanising voluntary commitments, which will take the form of Energy Compacts that national governments, cities, businesses and civil society organisations will present as contributions towards achieving SDG 7 and net- zero emissions, aligned with enhanced Nationally Determined Contributions and long-term climate goals under the Paris Agreement.
“The global roadmap and Energy Compacts will put forward solutions not only for an energy transition away from fossil fuels, but also to meet the needs of about 800 million people who still lack access to electricity and the nearly 3 billion who lack clean, modern cooking and heating fuels,” the statement added.
“Solid cooking fuels cause over 1.6 million premature deaths a year, mostly women and children, from indoor air pollution, in addition to their environmental impacts,” it said.