The Public-Private Alliance Foundation, which has recognized status with DPI and ECOSOC, organized a well-attended workshop on Energy and Climate Action, held on August 29 as part of the 65th UN DPI/NGO Annual Conference. Co-sponsors were the UN Association of the USA Southern New York State Division (UNA-SNY) and its Energy Project, UNA-USA, the NGO Sustainable Development Committee and Batey Relief Alliance.
The energy sector is largely responsible for the 6 degree Celsius increase in temperature globally, toward which the climate is headed. Dr. Tapio Kanninen, Senior Fellow and Co-Director of the Project on Sustainable Global Governance at the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, said that we have hardly done anything to reduce emissions in the last 30 years, and continuing on this path will lead us to a “worst-case” scenario. Devising a plan to limit the trajectory of global warming to a 2 degree Celsius increase would take converting our oil, coal and gas resources into alternative energy sources such as solar, wind and nuclear. Kanninen said that we must move from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy globally. In order to see such a decrease in global warming, reducing CO2 and other greenhouses gases is not enough.
Dr. George Garland, head of the Energy Project of UNA-SNY, said that U.S. leadership in policies and regulations will be a key part of any international agreement towards cutting greenhouse gas emissions. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report in late August projecting a 4.7 degree Celsius increase in temperature, more than double the goal of only a 2 degree Celsius increase. As the world’s energy consumption continues to grow, the International Energy Agency projects that the world will be generating more than twice the amount of energy in 2040 as it did in 2010. A global effort to lower greenhouse gas emissions is needed as the world prepares for the impacts of climate change over the next few decades and beyond.
Amy Parekh Mehta, JD, LL.M, Adjunct Professor at Pace University School of Law, teaches international environmental law. Having followed the Open Working Group’s deliberations, she spoke about climate change and energy issues as seen in the Sustainable Development Goals. Vadim Belikov, MA, spoke on involving social entrepreneurs for solutions in energy and climate action. Mr. Belikov is CEO of PSD Development Company in St. Petersburg, Russia and Co-Founder of the New Energy Leaders Council.
Ben J. Margolin, Intern, Public-Private Alliance Foundation and
Jeanne Betsock Stillman, President, UNA-Southern New York State Division