World leaders pledge $ 400 billion to boost clean energy and renewables | News | DW

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On Friday, a group of governments and the private sector collectively pledged more than $ 400 billion (just over € 340 billion) at a high-level summit that called for more urgent action to curb change catastrophic climate.

The commitments, made on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, also provide for reliable access to electricity for hundreds of millions of people.

What do they promise?

The commitments include projects to expand access to electricity in developing countries and improve energy efficiency.

More than 35 countries – from small island developing states to large emerging and developed economies – have made significant new energy commitments in the form of energy pacts, the UN said.

Several large companies have also made commitments, including TotalEnergies, Schneider Electric and Google.

Among the pledges, Germany pledges to increase its own share of renewables in total electricity consumption to 65% by 2030.

Berlin is committed to supporting partner countries in the development of innovative technologies such as green hydrogen and “power to x”, an innovation to use excess electrical energy.

The government has also pledged to provide 7 billion euros to accelerate the deployment of hydrogen technology in Germany.

Provide clean energy

The UN says some 760 million people around the world currently lack access to electricity.

Speaking at the summit, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the world should aim to cut that number in half by 2025.

“Access to clean, renewable energy is, quite simply, the difference between life and death,” said Guterres.

Among the means of achieving this objective are alternatives to national electricity grids. These include “swarm networks” – a system of energy cubes that look like large car batteries and are charged by solar panels.

The UN chief has defined four priorities for a sustainable energy future:

  • Halve the number of people without access to electricity by 2025
  • Rapid switch to clean energy sources
  • Achieve universal access to energy by 2030
  • Ensuring that efforts to reduce carbon dioxide don’t mean leaving some without access to electricity

“We can’t wait another 40 years,” Guterres said. “The era of access to renewable and affordable energy for all must begin today.”

Separate commitments from China and the United States

Pledges were also made this week by the leaders of the world’s two largest economies, who announced separate measures at the United Nations General Assembly.

China has pledged to end funding for coal overseas, while the United States has said it will double climate finance for developing countries.

The pledges came as young climate activists from Greta Thunberg’s Fridays for Future movement resumed mass global protests on the streets for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thunberg herself was in Berlin on Friday, two days before the German federal elections.

They demanded drastic action from world leaders ahead of the UN climate talks in November.

Leaders and representatives of the 193 UN member states are attending the UN General Assembly through Monday, in person or online.

The energy summit is one of several happening at the same time, including a high-level online summit on fairer distribution of coronavirus vaccines.

rc / rs (dpa, AFP)

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