When world leaders convene this week for the UN’s high-level dialogue on energy, they will be presented with a global roadmap of concrete actions to meet SDG 7 – affordable and clean energy for all by 2030 – and net zero emissions by 2050. This roadmap is based on recommendations from five technical working groups and the associated ministerial forums that convened in June 2021. A recently released summary indicates the priority actions to be featured in the global roadmap.
The first action includes ensuring clean cooking solutions for 2.6 billion people.
Five multi-stakeholder Technical Working Groups convened throughout the first half of 2021 to develop recommendations. These have informed the key priority actions for the global roadmap. According to the summary of the roundtables, the priority recommended actions are:
- Close the energy access gap: Direct energy policy, planning, financing and innovation to providing access to electricity for the 760 million people worldwide who lack it, and ensuring clean cooking solutions for the 2.6 billion people still relying on harmful fuels.
- Rapidly transition to clean energy pathways: Rapidly scale up energy transition solutions to reach 8,000 GW of renewable energy by 2030, increase annual rate of energy efficiency from 0.8% to 3.0%, abandon all coal plants in the pipeline, and reduce coal power capacity by 50% by 2030.
- Leave no one behind, strengthen inclusion, interlinkages and synergies: Integrate equity and equality in energy-sector policy, planning and financing, create green energy jobs, and mainstream energy-sector policies and strategies into strategies to ensure just energy transitions.
- Mobilize adequate and well-directed finance: Triple clean energy investment globally by 2030, accelerate access to finance, phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies, support market-based energy transitions. Create enabling policy and regulatory frameworks to leverage private sector investment.
- Harness innovation, technology and data: Expand the supply of energy innovation that addresses key gaps, and increase demand for clean and sustainable energy technologies and innovation through market-oriented policies, harmonized international standards, and carbon pricing mechanisms.
In a table of ‘Key milestones towards the achievement of SDG 7 and net zero emissions,’ the summary indicates the state of each area currently, followed by quantitative milestones for 2025, 2030, and 2050. For example, on energy access, the table shows that 759 million are without electricity access now, but by 2025, 500 million more people should have electricity access, by 2030 the world should have universal access to electricity and clean cooking solutions, and by 2050 there should be net-zero energy systems that secure universal access to electricity.
The summary also emphasizes that Energy Compacts are the vehicle to translate the actions that comprise the global roadmap into concrete plans with clear milestones and targets. It suggests creating an Energy Compact Action Network to mobilize action and track progress.
Finally, the summary calls for strengthening UN-Energy to enhance coordination and coherence among UN entities and other partners in efforts to reach SDG 7 by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2050. UN-Energy must ensure, it says, that the global roadmap’s recommendations are “translated into specific, strategic, bold and time-bound plans of action towards a clear set of milestones to be achieved by 2025, 2030 and 2050.”
The latest programme for the High-level Dialogue on Energy shows that four leadership dialogues during the HLDE on 24 September will address: Accelerating action to achieve universal energy access and net zero emissions; Ensuring just and inclusive energy transitions to leave no one behind; Catalysing finance and investment; and Scaling up action through Energy Compacts.
In July 2021 the UN Secretary-General issued a report a global stocktaking by the end of 2023 to review the global plan of action for the UN Decade of Sustainable Energy for All (2014-2024), in light of the outcomes of the September 2021 energy summit. [Summary of ministerial thematic forums] [SDG Knowledge Hub policy brief on Ministerial Forum discussions] [HLDE website]