In 2015 in Paris, 195 nations reached a historic agreement to combat climate change. They made a common commitment to keep the rise in temperature below two degrees Celsius this century. All countries presented national emission reduction plans, which served as a sign of shared responsibility to fight against climate change. In terms of specific measures, for example, Colombia committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 20% in relation to projected emissions by 2030.
Last year in September, in recognition of the importance of mitigating climate change, the international community agreed to 17 United Nations “Sustainable Development Goals,” one of which focuses on developing access to energy that is affordable, reliable and sustainable for all by the year 2030. Goal 7 guarantees access to affordable, secure, sustainable, and modern energy for all and relates to the UN Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) initiative launched in 2011, which has three targets for 2030:
- To ensure universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services
- To double the percentage of renewable energy in the world energy matrix
- To double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency
One of SE4All’s progress reports indicates that annual global investment is well below what is necessary to reach the goals by 2030: to achieve universal access to electricity services, global investment would have to increase five-fold relative to current levels of investment, while investment in energy efficiency would have to increase four times and investment in renewables would have to double.
Energy Efficiency (EE) measures offer a cost-effective climate change mitigation solution. The required investments cannot be met with public funds alone – private investment is also required. However, creating an EE market also requires legal and regulatory frameworks, policy instruments, and institutional arrangements that are conducive to the desired goals.
Energy plays an essential role in the ensuring the economic development of countries and the well-being of the population. The risk of not achieving Goal 7 and the objectives of Sustainable Energy for All could compromise the achievement of the other Sustainable Development Goals. We also know that energy is responsible for about 2/3 of the emissions that contribute to climate change.
We are faced with a double challenge, on the one hand, to ensure access to sustainable and affordable energy for all, while at the same time reducing the carbon intensity of that energy. This requires rethinking the way in which energy is produced, distributed, and consumed, for example by incorporating larger volumes of renewable energy into the energy matrix that can be transformed in a non-polluting way, increasing energy efficiency in parallel by reducing losses. By employing more efficient end use technology and adopting a more rational use of energy, we can make this lifestyle sustainable.
SE4All plays an important role in achieving this by working to reach the three objectives of access, renewable energy, and energy efficiency while maximizing the benefits to development and contributing to stabilizing climate change. The SE4All Hub for Latin America and the Caribbean is committed to supporting countries in working towards these goals.
During COP22 in Marrakech, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) launched NDC Invest, a platform designed to support the implementation of the Paris Agreement. How does it do this? By working with developing countries to support the implementation of national plans and by transforming them into investment plans. NDC Invest has four components, each of which offers different alternatives. For example, NDC Accelerates is a component that helps countries to achieve Objective 7. It provides financial and technical support to carry out studies to evaluate energy matrices and thus ensure the technical and financial feasibility of each national plan. With NDC Invest, the IDB continues its support of sustainable energy initiatives in the region.