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UNCCC 2017: Major Challenges in Working Towards Renewable Energy
By admin November 7, 2017

The 2017 United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNCCC) is happening in Germany between November 6th and 17th. While extensive preparations are leading up to the conference, Rachel Kyte, the special representative for sustainable energy has announced the need for developing and ensuring a “smooth and speedy energy transition” for all. As the special representative for the Secretary General, Kyte is the main person in the UN working towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) in the energy and environment sector.

At the launch of the Initiative for Sustainable Energy Policy, a program designed to develop innovative energy policy recommendations for developing countries and emerging economies, Kyte reasoned that the program could play a generous role in accelerating progress towards SDG 7. In a statement according to DevEx, Kyte said: “I hope this initiative can help … usher in a new generation of policymakers and policies that see that the provision of energy services is very different in the future than the way we have provided them in the past,” she said, adding that it will pave the way for “one of the greatest pivots of our time.” More closely, however, Kyte outlined major challenges to the overall sustainable energy agenda that must be accounted for:
Access to electricity is neglected
Kyte suggested that electricity provisions through nontraditional projects – like putting solar panels on a school roof – allows parents to charge devices while their children attend classes. Kyte thoroughly calls on the need for integration of electricity access, especially in parts of sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia where almost 1 billion people live without electricity.

2. Energy efficiency is “overlooked and unloved”

In a statement, Kyte declared that energy efficiency offers governments a cheap way to bend the emission curve by taking advantage of “quick win” energy efficiency policies. Accordingly, “there’s huge room for improvement,” she said. Metrics being utilized to analyze which countries have been taking energy efficiency seriously include World Bank indicators known as RISE, or Regulatory Indicators for Sustainable Energy. These indicators rank 111 countries on their policy and regulatory frameworks across energy access, energy efficiency, and renewable energy according to a DevEx report. “So how to make energy efficiency sexy again is a very important challenge for this new initiative,” she said.

3. A future without coal
Kyte boldly declared her opposition towards usage of coal for energy plans. She instead focused on the transitions between coal usage to policy implementations that ban them. “We know how to help communities through transition … delaying debate on that or portraying it as anything else is delaying the job at hand,” she said.

The international community, specifically in developing economies, are still largely coal-driven economies due to the ease of mining. Kyte called on these developing countries to come together in creating a strategy that can allow for communities to develop alternative energy solutions outlined above.
Among these three challenges outlined by Kyte, she also discussed carbon emissions, infrastructure finance, the need for changing mindsets, and the difficulty in reaching those communities traditionally beyond the energy system. In calling these challenges publicly, Kyte sets a large precedence for discussions to occur during COP23, and more importantly, the outcomes that will result.

 

Related Readings

Rachel Kyte on 7 challenges facing the sustainable energy agenda

CEO of SEForALL and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General

Let’s see financing energy access as an opportunity, not a challenge

Rachel Kyte on the Global Energy Access Challenge


Thanks for sharing !


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