Advancing Inclusive, Just and Resilient Energy Transition, Gathering Wisdom and Strength for Climate Mitigation
ABU DHABI, UAE – On December 5th, in Dubai, UAE, the 28th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) marked its Energy Day with a thematic event titled “Global Energy Interconnection: Advancing Inclusive, Just, and Resilient Energy Transition.” The event was a collaborative effort by Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization (GEIDCO), together with the Secretariat of UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UNESCWA), UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UNSDSN), the Ministry of Ecology and Environment of the P.R.C., the Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy (MOEE) of Egypt, and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
This gathering, focused on promoting global carbon neutrality, aimed to seek insights and solutions for an inclusive, just, and resilient energy transition through Global Energy Interconnection (GEI), and to further pool collective wisdom and strength to advance global energy transition and address climate change. Mr. Xin Baoan, Chairman of GEIDCO and Executive Chairman of State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC), attended the event and delivered a welcome speech.
H.E. Mr. Xie Zhenhua, Chinese Special Envoy for Climate Change, H.E. Mr. Liu Zhenmin, Former UN Under-Secretary-General & Former Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs of China, H.E. Mr. Li Junhua, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs (via video address), H.E. Ms. Rola Dashti, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the UNESCWA, H.E. Mr. Xu Haoliang, UN Under-Secretary-General and Associate Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) (online), H.E. Dr. Ahmed Mohamed Mahina, First Undersecretary for Research, Planning & Authorities follow up of Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy of Egypt, and Dr. Elena Manaenkova, Deputy Secretary-General of WMO, attended the event and delivered keynote speeches.
H.E. Mr. Ibrahim Matola, Minister of Energy of Malawi, H.E. Ms. Tatiana Molcean, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), H.E. Mr. Jorge Moreira da Silva, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), H.E. Ms. Sanda Ojiambo, UN Assistant Secretary-General and CEO & Executive Director of the UN Global Compact, attended the high-level dialogue and shared their views and insights. The side event was concluded by Mr. Daniele Violetti, Senior Director of the Programmes Coordination, the UNFCCC Secretariat. The thematic event features a research report release by GEIDCO entitled Inclusive, Just, Resilient Energy Transition: GEI Solution and Practices, and practical case sharing by SGCC on the development of new power systems.
Mr. Xin Baoan stressed that climate issue is a major challenge constraining the sustainable development of mankind. Accelerating green and low-carbon energy transition and mitigating climate change have become a global consensus and common action. Energy development is facing many challenges, such as huge pressure for energy supply and security, tough tasks in transforming traditional industries, and unbalanced regional development. To advance high-quality energy transition, we need to take a systematic approach and focus on the correlations between security and transition, development and emission reduction, and stocks and increments.
Mr. Xin said that GEI is characterized by clean energy dominance, extensive electrification, interconnection, multi-energy mutual support, high intelligence and efficiency. As an integral part of the new energy system, it is essential for large-scale development, wide-area allocation, efficient utilization, flexible conversion and reliable supply of clean energy. It will promote clean energy production, further electrification in energy consumption, wide-area energy allocation, and energy industry digitalization. GEI can also effectively balance three pairs of relationships: security and transition, development and emission reduction, and stocks and increments, providing a Chinese solution for advancing energy transition and carbon emission reduction with higher quality and efficiency. First, it promotes inclusive transition. By actively promoting clean upgrading and energy conservation in fossil fuel facilities, we aim to transition fossil fuels from being the primary source of energy to a supporting role. This shift will enhance the flexible and adjustable capacity of power systems, and support exponential growth of new energy sources. Second, it promotes just transition. Wide-area energy interconnections will allow resource sharing and supply-demand matchmaking across vast regions. It will effectively reduce the cost of energy consumption, with the cost of power supply dropping by about 20% compared with the current level, so that everyone can enjoy affordable and sustainable clean energy, and the people of all countries can benefit from the fruits of transition. Third, it promotes resilient transition. The convergence of modern digital, energy and power technologies and their continued innovation will support the coordinated operation of power source, grid, load and storage. It will enhance the flexibility and sufficiency of energy systems, strengthen the resilience and reliability of power infrastructure, and better adapt to the impact of climate change and extreme weathers.
Xie Zhenhua said that energy transition needs both to ensure renewable energy development and energy security. The ultimate goal is to transition from fossil energy to renewable energy as the predominant source in the energy and power mix. The scheme and solution proposed by GEIDCO are viable and scientific.
Liu Zhenmin highlighted that in recent years, GEIDCO has undertaken substantial efforts in advancing global energy transition and addressing climate change, yielding fruitful outcomes, including the release of key research findings. He expressed confidence that this event would actively contribute to fostering collaborative governance of global energy, climate and environment, further leveraging collective wisdom and strength.
Li Junhua remarked that, energy is pivotal in achieving both the 2030 Agenda and the objectives of the Paris Agreement. It is time for transformation. Interconnection of global energy infrastructure can significantly contribute to this by accelerating the development of clean energy in countries worldwide, while reducing the costs of energy services.
Rola Dashti said we stand at a critical juncture in our shared journey towards advancing SDG targets and a just and inclusive energy transition. UNESCWA’s integrated approach embraces technological solutions available in our region, and tailors Sustainable Energy Transition Strategies for LDCs and conflict-affected countries with a focus on social equity.
Mr. Xu Haoliang said that the UNDP is taking action with its partners to place renewable energy development at the forefront of its efforts to ensure affordable, sustainable, and reliable energy around the world by accelerating market development, policy advice, and technological capacity enhancement.
Dr. Ahmed Mohamed Mohina emphasized the Egyptian government’s strong recognition and support for the Global Energy Interconnection Initiative, acknowledging its profound importance for global energy transition and climate governance. He underscored that the initiative offers practical solutions for African and Arab countries to promote energy transition, accelerate economic development and improve ecological environment.
Dr. Elena Manaenkova highlighted the strong link between climate change and energy, stressing the World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) commitment to helping governments and businesses to decarbonize while improve energy efficiency and enhance the resilience, flexibility and diversity of the energy transition.
At the event, Dr. Wu Xuan, Secretary General of GEIDCO, released GEIDCO’s latest research report entitled Inclusive, Just, Resilient Energy Transition: GEI Solution and Practices. Using the assessment model developed by GEIDCO, this report provides a holistic scheme for inclusive, just and resilient energy transition based on GEI. Through better interconnected energy systems, this report suggests advancing the “three transitions” of energy through “three coordinations”, that is, advancing inclusive, just and resilient energy transition through coordination between clean energy and fossil fuels, energy and industry, and energy and meteorology. The aim is to build a safe, cost-effective, intelligent, green and open modern energy system, and achieve UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The event is broadcast live on the website of the UNFCCC Secretariat and YouTube. It is co-chaired by Prof. Cheng Zhiqiang, Executive Secretary for Cooperation of GEIDCO, and Prof. Jeffery D. Sachs, President of UN SDSN. It has attracted more than 70 guests from relevant UN agencies, regional and international organizations in energy fields, governments of China, Egypt, South Africa and other countries, as well as energy and power enterprises.
Since its inception, GEIDCO has participated in the UN Climate Change Conference for many consecutive times, held several thematic events, and released multiple research results. GEI plans are also included in the Sixth Assessment Report of the IPCC. All these efforts contribute to the coordinated governance of energy, climate and environment.
During COP28, GEIDCO and WMO also held a thematic event with the theme of “Energy Transition and Clean Energy Development”. Industry experts and scholars shared the latest technologies and discussed policy frameworks to provide new solutions for clean energy development and utilization. Mr. Bi Baogui, Deputy Administrator of China Meteorological Administration, Prof. Pan Jiahua, Member of the Independent Group of Scientists for the UN’s Global Sustainable Development Report for 2023 and Member of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Mr. Jaideep Sandhu, Member of the UN Council of Engineers for the Energy Transition, and Dr. Wu Xuan, Secretary General of GEIDCO, attended the event and delivered keynote speeches.
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