Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today launched a new group consisting of business leaders and experts who will advise him on energy and climate change challenges, particularly in identifying key issues in the run-up to the major United Nations conference to be held in Copenhagen in December.
The high-level Energy and Climate Change Advisory Group held its first meeting today at UN Headquarters under the chairmanship of Kandeh K. Yumkella, Director-General of the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and head of the inter-agency mechanism known as UN-Energy.
The Group will help the UN prepare for Copenhagen, especially regarding the role that energy plays in climate change, and monitor implementation of what is decided at the conference, Mr. Yumkella told a news conference in New York.
Countries will meet in December to ‘seal the deal’ on a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gas emissions targets. The first phase of the 1997 Protocol expires at the end of 2012.
He said that he had seen reports that energy efficiency alone could reduce global polluting emissions 30 to 40 per cent, “but it is not happening.”
The Group will consider ways to comprehensively address climate change and boost energy efficiency and clean production, with a focus on developing countries.
Mr. Yumkella said it is important to focus on developing countries because they not only required help in tackling climate change, but also needed access to energy options. Many parts of the developing world still burned charcoal, wood and other biomass, which led to ecological damage and is a primary cause of pulmonary diseases.
Among those invited to participate in the group are top executives from companies such as Tata (India), Suntech Holdings (China), Edison International (United States), the New Energy and Technology Development Organization (Japan), and ESKOM Holdings (South Africa), as well as political figures, including former Costa Rican President Jose Figueres, and UN officials.