A UN day for clean energy will be a date to remember

The occasion offers a platform to highlight efforts aimed at creating more affordable, reliable and sustainable energy systems

The Shams One solar power plant in Abu Dhabi is just one example of the UAE's investment in clean energy. Silvia Razgova / The National
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The challenge of increasing the share of renewables by 2030 for a just and sustainable energy transition has never been more urgent or necessary. Every single country, company and individual has a role to play a role in correcting our course.

To help concentrate minds, on Friday, with just under 100 days to go before, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted a groundbreaking resolution, making January 26 the International Day of Clean Energy, starting from next year.

The chosen date also marks the founding of the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena). Since its inception in 2009, Irena has enabled change and progress in the energy transition. It has facilitated several, pivotal projects such as the Energy Transition Accelerator Financing Platform and Empowering Lives and Livelihoods, both designed to mobilise critical investment in vulnerable communities to advance the energy transition.

Landmark reports, adding depth to the arguments of policymakers, have also been issued by Irena. The organisation's World Energy Transitions Outlook Report, which calls for a tripling of annual renewable power capacity additions – from around 300 gigawatts (GW) to an average of 1,000 GW until 2030 – has been welcomed by the international community. This target has been adopted by the Cop28 Presidency as one of the outcomes required for countries to remain on track of Irena’s 1.5°C-degree pathway.

We believe renewables are the answer to critical questions on climate change, energy security, access, affordability and sustainable development. By grounding the energy transition in renewables, we can provide a more positive outlook for communities and countries worldwide and keep up efforts to tackle climate change.

Irena warmly embraces the creation of an International Day of Clean Energy – a resolution co-sponsored by Panama and the UAE. With the establishment of this day, the UN is reminding the world of its collective commitment to universal clean energy access.

By aligning with the goals of the Cop28 conference in so far as fast-tracking the energy transition, slashing emissions, and promoting inclusivity, the UNGA is highlighting the need for a unified global approach to energy issues to meet the Paris Agreement goal.

In November, when the first Global Stocktake takes place at Cop28 in Dubai, the world will discover the gap between climate ambition and action.

By declaring a day of clean energy, the UN unites the global community in advancing the energy transition. The occasion offers a platform to highlight efforts aimed at creating more affordable, reliable and sustainable energy systems.

The day will also serve to remind us, as Cop28 will, that the Global South must be an integral part of the global energy transition. Emerging economies and less developed states must be supported in their transitions if we are to achieve climate goals.

The International Day of Clean Energy has the potential to mark a new dawn, but the global community also must see the light by seizing the day as an opportunity to encourage others to embrace the energy transition for a better future for everyone.

Published: August 26, 2023, 5:00 AM
Updated: August 27, 2023, 8:52 AM