Essay: Increasing Energy Access to Close The Energy Gap

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  • Subject area(s): Environmental studies essays
  • Reading time: 2 minutes
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  • Published on: January 17, 2020
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  • Increasing Energy Access to Close The Energy Gap
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The United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development includes Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 which seeks to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all people. Developing states often do not have the means to sustainably develop renewable resources and are often forced to maintain the use of conventional energies including coal and oil, both of which are high CO2 emitters. Around the world, 41% of people do not have access to clean fuels or technologies with which to cook. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has begun to shrink the energy gap between developed and developing states. A/RES/65/151 and A/RES/67/215 were each adopted by the General Assembly declaring 2012 the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All and 2014-2024 the United Nations Decade of Sustainable Energy for All, respectively. These resolutions demonstrate the General Assembly’s support for the Secretary General’s Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) initiative. SE4ALL focuses on improving energy efficiency, doubling renewable energy use, and securing universal energy access.

The Kingdom of Norway knows the transformative power that comes from access to energy. One quarter of Norway’s GDP comes from oil extraction, a reality Norway has and continues to do right by through long term, sustainable development of those resources. Minister of Finance Siv Jensen recently said, “It is time to start divesting from oil and gas production.” Currently, one out of two cars sold in Norway is electric or hybrid, and by 2025 Norway is on track to sell zero gas fueled cars. Over 98% of Norway’s power is supplied by hydroelectricity, and important strides are being made to increase Norway’s energy storage system. In fact, Norway stands ready to become a major storer of renewable energy for the rest of Europe. The right to a “natural environment whose productivity and diversity are maintained” is enshrined in the Norwegian Constitution. To this end, Norway is committed to maintaining its near 100% mix of renewable energy. Through the active participation of all citizens, Norway is committed to internally achieving all 17 SDGs.

Norway’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Borge Brende has stated, “The overall aims of Norwegian [foreign] aid are to fight poverty and alleviate suffering.” Much of this aid, accounting for over 1% of Norwegian GDP (3.31 billion USD with 102 million USD invested in renewable energy in 2016 alone) is administered with the help of UN programs and agencies. Additionally, Norway has lead the way in developing the 1 Gigaton Coalition, an organization whose mission is to measure and report the reductions in CO2 emissions made possible by renewable energy production. Norway will wholeheartedly support these efforts in the future and believes investments like these must be made by able Member States through the 2030 Agenda framework to promote sustainable, renewable energy development. Major capital flows are needed to implement the SDGs globally, and wealthier Member States cannot be expected to fund all needed efforts. However, Norway believes Member States must support the UNDP to aid developing states’ pursuit of costly renewable energies from which they can develop their own economic base needed to achieve SDG 7 and all others.

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