Speaking via video message to the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit organized by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) of India, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called for countries to take a low-carbon approach to development in the coming years.
“Over the next fifteen years, the world will make massive investments in new infrastructure for cities, energy and agriculture,” he said. “If this spending is directed towards low-carbon goods, technologies and services, we will be on our way towards a more sustainable, equitable future. But if we ignore the low-carbon pathway, we may fail to achieve the sustainable development goals,” he added referring to the targets currently being crafted by UN Member States to succeed the landmark, largely poverty-focused Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) after 2015.
He looked ahead to the upcoming summits on sustainable development and on climate change and he stressed that the two were complementary and interdependent, emphasising the contribution renewable energy could make to cleaner air and better health, and the potential of climate-smart agriculture to boost water and food security.
“Climate change threatens to undermine hard-earned development gains,” he said. “But combatting it is an opportunity for low-carbon growth that will benefit people and the planet.”
Mr. Ban pointed to India’s ‘development without destruction’ vision and described how it is apparent in the country’s rapid scale-up of solar power, the Ganga Rejuvenation project and the creation of smart cities.
“These solutions can reduce poverty, catalyse clean, sustainable growth, and increase resilience to climate change,” he said.
He underlined the need for Governments to build policy frameworks in order to build the momentum necessary to pursue the correct, sustainable course and said the private sector, civil society and the scientific community and think-tanks such as TERI also had important roles to play.
“We need all hands on deck to meet the climate challenge,” he said. “Now is the moment. It is time for action – time for a global agreement.”