At the UN High-Level Dialogue on Energy this week in New York, EU Commission Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal Frans Timmermans and Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson presented three Energy Compacts in an effort to mobilise the investments necessary to reach universal energy access and to accelerate the clean energy transition around the world.
In their roles as Energy Access Champion and Just Transition Champion in this UN process respectively, Timmermans and Simson highlighted the EU’s willingness to lead the global efforts to reach universal energy access by 2030 and accelerate the clean energy transition, and showed concretely how the European Green Deal plays a role on the global stage.
“Clean energy is more affordable now than ever, so the time is ripe to break the global dependence on fossil fuels,” Timmermans, said. “Recovery from the pandemic gives us an opportunity to transition faster and to build new energy systems based on renewables. It is important that we address these issues at this moment of recovery and cooperate to accelerate the global energy transition,” he added.
For her part, Simson reminded that the EU is supporting the global dialogue on just transition based on the bloc’s own experience in moving away from coal. “We are inviting other donors, International Financial institutions and investors to take these steps with us, to turn roadmaps and strategies into projects which bring clean energy and sustainable jobs,” she said.
The Commission announced the three UN Compacts in partnership with the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
Firstly, a new project with the IEA will prepare zero emission energy roadmaps for countries dependent on coal. The roadmaps will propose inclusive pathways for energy system decarbonisation that ensure a just, socially fair transition that leaves nobody behind, while ensuring security of energy supply and growing energy access, the Commission said.
Secondly, the EU will cooperate with IRENA to prepare Regional Energy Transition Outlooks for Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean and Europe. They will provide a thorough analysis of the regions’ potential and options in terms of renewable energy, energy efficiency, infrastructure, energy access and cross-border cooperation, as well as an assessment of investment needs and socio-economic impact, the Commission said, adding that they will include concrete policy recommendations to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal on energy, in line with the 1.5 degree Paris objective.
Thirdly, the EU Commission will work with Denmark, Germany, IRENA and other partners on a Green Hydrogen Compact Catalogue. This will be designed to give a boost to green hydrogen worldwide, including a commitment to cooperate on renewable hydrogen development with the African Union in the framework of the Africa-Europe Green Energy Initiative, the Commission said.
The three Compacts are strongly linked to EU’s climate and energy priorities, in particular universal energy access, just transition, and the promotion of renewable energy, including green hydrogen. The Compacts will contribute to achieving the global clean energy transition and complement the EU’s commitments on climate finance, the Commission said.
The roadmaps and regional energy transition outlooks to be developed by the IEA and IRENA with targeted countries and regions will provide opportunities for guiding EU’s further energy policy orientations and investment cooperation. The roadmaps and outlooks will also support the Africa-EU Green Energy Initiative, to be launched next year.
The UN High-Level Dialogue on Energy, taking place from September 22 to September 24 in virtual format, is the first UN gathering on energy since 1981. It aims at accelerating the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 7 in support of the Decade of Action ahead of COP26. The main outcomes of the dialogue will include a global roadmap based on the recommendations of the Working Groups to achieve universal global access by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050, and a series of “Energy Compacts” that present multi-stakeholder partnerships and voluntary commitments from Member States and non-state actors. The High-Level Dialogue is structured around five themes, supported by global champions, including Timmermans on energy access and Simson on enabling the SDGs through inclusive and just energy transitions.
On the first day of the High-Level Dialogue, Timmermans delivered a speech during the panel on “Energy as a golden thread: a means to deliver on domestic and international priorities and goals”. On September 24, he was also due to participate in the leadership dialogue “Accelerating action to achieve universal energy access and net zero emissions”.
On September 22, Simson intervened with a speech at the session “Knowledge into Action: Advancing a just and inclusive energy transition that also addresses achieving universal energy access”.
In both keynote interventions, they outlined the European Green Deal ambition to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050 and to achieve a 55% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions emissions in the EU by 2030, presented in an ambitious package of legislative proposals on July 14.