Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) that more than 100 commitments and actions had already been mobilized in support of the U.N.'s global sustainable energy initiative.
"Achieving sustainable energy for all is not only possible, but necessary - it is the golden thread that connects development, social inclusion and environmental protection," he said in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Thursday.
Launched in September 2011, the Sustainable Energy for All initiative brings together governments, businesses and civil society groups in an unprecedented effort to help make the world's energy systems more accessible, efficient and cleaner.
"This initiative is already mobilizing significant action from all sectors of society. Working together, we can provide solutions that drive economic growth, expand equity and reduce the risks of climate change," the U.N. chief said.
The International Energy Agency estimates that 1.3 billion people - one in five globally - lack electricity to light their homes or conduct business.
More than 40,000 people - including Heads of State and Government, parliamentarians, mayors, U.N. officials, business and civil society leaders - are attending Rio+20, which will conclude on Friday. It seeks to shape new policies to promote global prosperity, reduce poverty and advance social equity and environmental protection.
Among the commitments and actions agreed upon by governments, Ghana, one of the first countries to partner with the initiative, has developed a national energy action plan to support capacity-development and innovative financing mechanisms. Countries initiating or completing similar assessments include Bangladesh, Kenya, Mozambique, Nepal, Tajikistan, Uruguay and Vietnam. Brazil has committed to investing a further $4.3 billion to achieve universal energy access at a national level by 2014.
Microsoft has committed to going carbon-neutral and will be rolling out an internal carbon fee that will apply to Microsoft's business operations in over 100 countries. Italian energy company Eni has earmarked approximately $5 billion to achieve its gas flaring and carbon intensity reduction goals; and, the Renault-Nissan Alliance has committed approximately $5 billion to commercialize affordable zero-emission vehicles.
The Bank of America has set a ten year $50-billion environmental business goal, while the World Bank Group has committed to doubling the leverage of its energy portfolio by mobilizing private, donor and public contributions to World Bank-supported projects, as well as supportive policies to expand energy access, renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Members of the rock band Linkin Park have launched a campaign urging world leaders at Rio+20 to end energy poverty, while India's Energy and Resources Institute has committed to expanding lighting services to households in several developing countries, using solar and other clean energy technologies, by 2018. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, along with 40 other professional associations, has pledged to mobilize their two million members worldwide in support of the Sustainable Energy for All initiative.
by RTT Staff Writer
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