The battle to stop global warming from rising above the catastrophic 1.5 degree Celsius received a boost on Wednesday as the newly launched Global Leadership Council(link is external) got down to business during the 77th session of the UN General Assembly in New York.
The Council is made up of a diverse and growing coalition of global leaders including the President of the African Development Bank Dr Akinwumi Adesina. Others include Patricia Espinosa, former Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change; Achim Steiner, Administrator, United Nations Development Programme; Werner Hoyer, President, European Investment Bank.
The Council is co-chaired by Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Norway Jonas Gahr Støre, and The Rockefeller Foundation president Dr. Rajiv J. Shah.
As a first step, the Council will focus on efforts to break down barriers to just energy transitions in developing countries.
Prime Minister Støre said: “Global crises are slowing progress towards universal energy access and clean energy transitions. As we head towards COP27, the world is a very different place than one year ago. The war in Ukraine, global energy shortages, and record temperatures have aggravated the situation. This is the defining challenge of our times. It is more important than ever that we drive up the pace of change and commit to greater collaboration so we can achieve the change people so desperately need.”
President Adesina said the African Development Bank will work with the Council to advocate for disruptive technologies and financing systems that will sustain a low-carbon development era that is growth compatible for Africa.
“I see significant complementarity between the objectives of Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet and what we are doing at the African Development Bank, especially regarding the Desert to Power Project that aims to generate 10,000 MW of solar Power to supply 250 million people”, said President Adesina.
While developing countries are currently responsible for only 25% of global CO2 emissions, their share of global emissions could grow to 75% by 2050, according to analysis published by the Alliance(link is external). These countries currently receive only a fraction of clean energy financing, despite representing nearly half of the world’s population.
Participants in the meeting discussed driving down the cost of clean energy technologies, delivering locally owned Just Energy Transition Partnerships (JET-Ps), and building carbon credits for coal decommissioning.
According to Dr. Shah the mission and the opportunity of the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet(link is external) is to scale innovative green technologies to restart the progress lost to Covid-19 and stop the rapid march of climate change.
“The Global Leadership Council has the knowledge and the networks to overcome the most challenging barriers to unlocking opportunity with energy transitions and keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius,” Shah said.
Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet CEO Simon Harford observed that with 3.6 billion people living in some form of energy poverty, of which 760 million do not have access to any electricity at all, achieving an energy transition with more equitable access to clean energy for countries across Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean was very important, more than ever before.
Harford added that “with the extraordinary depth of experience and commitment by the members of the Global Leadership Council, we will strive to increase the pace and scale of providing clean, reliable energy to those who don’t have it, while reducing emissions, improving livelihoods, and advancing women’s empowerment worldwide.”