The UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) has issued a call for three short-term actions on sustainability and climate change, ahead of the UN’s upcoming summit on energy. It also identified three longer-term actions to advance a “hydrogen economy,” carbon neutrality, and other transformations.
The High-level Dialogue on Energy will take place on 24 September 2021, aiming to support implementation of the UN Decade of Sustainable Energy for All (2014-2024) and to accelerate ambition towards the achievement of SDG 7 (affordable and clean energy).
To “set the stage for longer-term, enduring change,” UNECE has called for near-term action to: improve buildings’ energy performance; monitor and remediate methane emissions, which cause 25% of global warming; and modernize the management of natural resources to ensure their availability in the future. The call for action in these three areas is presented in a UNECE document titled, ‘A Commitment Trifecta,’ for countries’ consideration in the context of the energy summit and the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP 26).
The document provides potential objectives, targets, and commitments for each action. On building performance, for example, it suggests increasing the amount of carbon stored in buildings, and recovering materials at the end of a building’s life, among other objectives. On methane management, it calls on UN Member States to support the declaration of an International Decade for Methane Management by the UN General Assembly, including robust monitoring and remediation of methane emissions. On natural resource management, the call to action suggests that investors engage in ESG-focused funding using a “common sustainable finance taxonomy.”
UNECE is also advocating for three additional actions to address longer-term needs: achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 through seven possible approaches outlined in the document titled, ‘A Push to Pivot’; ensure a just transition away from coal-based infrastructure; and enable the commercialization of hydrogen projects by addressing cost barriers and clarifying policy and regulatory frameworks. [UNECE press release] [SDG Knowledge Hub coverage of HLDE preparations]