Launch of the World Energy Outlook 2018
World Energy Outlook 2018 Launch
International Energy Agency & VERBUND
Technical University Vienna, Kuppelsaal Karlsplatz 13
November 14, 2018, 11:30 – 14:30
Your Excellency Minister Elisabeth Köstinger,
Mr. Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency,
Mr. Gerhard Roiss, President of Verbund,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I thank the International Energy Agency and VERBUND for bringing us all together for the launch of the 2018 World Energy Outlook in Vienna.
It is a great privilege for me to address such a distinguished group of global leaders and experts across a wide variety of sectors and regions to talk about “Electrification” and “Making it Happen”.
As a child growing up during the Korean War, I studied with candlelight. Electric conveniences such as refrigerators and fans were largely unknown.
I had to study until I was a freshman at University under candle light.
Yet within my lifetime reality changed utterly. Easy access to energy opened abundant new possibilities for my family, my community, my country and so many others around the globe.
We have come a long way and one thing is clear:
Energy transforms lives, businesses and economies. And it transforms our planet —our climate, natural resources and ecosystems.
Since 2010, less than a decade ago, the average costs of solar power has dropped 73% and the cost of wind energy has dropped 23%, respectively. It may be kind of meaningless for me to point this numbers out in front of many experts like yourselves.
The costs of battery storage technologies are forecasted to decline by as much 60% over the next decade.
In many scenarios, renewable energy is now more competitive than conventional fossil fuel-based energy.
In other words, we have arrived at the tipping point where investing in renewable energy is no longer only the right thing to do to, it is also the sensible thing to do. If we were to push for the new construction of traditional fossil fuel power plants, we would be at risk of being viewed as not only “immoral” but also as “unwise”.
Still, real world change is not occurring as rapidly as we want, and current electrification rates are insufficient to achieve Sustainable Development Goal No. 7.
Today still nearly one out of every five people lacks access to electricity.
More than twice that number — 2.8 billion people – still rely on wood, charcoal, animal and crop waste or other solid fuels to cook their food and heat their homes.
For example, Sub-Saharan Africa is far behind the rest of the world in terms of electricity generation capacity, per capita electricity consumption and household access to electricity. If the current trend continues, 674 million people will remain without access, even in 2030.
At the same time the global thermostat is rising, threatening development goals and economies small and large.
Still we need to make modern energy services available to all, increase efficiency and increase the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.
This is why I launched the Sustainable Energy for All initiative. It has three targets and the headquarters is now here in Vienna.
We must do all of that in a sustainable manner.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In order to address this, there are many ways in which we can redouble our efforts, including:
- Aiming to achieve the scale of investment and deployment required, by focusing on interventions that develop a fully sustainable market chain from manufacture, to distribution, retail and end-user consumption;
- Increasing the share of renewables for end-users, including heating, cooling and transportation and by utilizing the rapid technological advances;
- Decentralizing renewable energy systems, including mini-grids, to ensure that people will have access to power despite disruption to energy services, especially targeting LDCs as energy services are simply non-existent in many regions;
- Creating institutional arrangements that will increase international cooperation and collaboration; support research and development for green growth and spread those technologies to developing countries; and
- Developing policies and other innovative ways for the private sector and public institutions—especially those that receive R&D funding from their governments—to be more active in transferring technologies to developing countries so they can decrease fossil fuel imports, reduce air pollution and create green jobs.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Earlier this year, I was elected as the President of the Assembly and the Chair of the Council of the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) located in Seoul, a treaty-based intergovernmental organization, by its Member countries.
I chose to lead GGGI because its mandate coincides heavily with the work I pioneered as the United Nations Secretary-General:
- It supports countries to achieve sustainable development and climate action through new and innovative green industries and jobs;
- It supports governments to develop socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable green growth plans and policies; and
- It supports its Member countries achieve the NDCs (national determined contributions) by delivering climate action services in the areas of mitigation, transparency and finance.
GGGI has mobilized 1 billion USD in green investments in developing countries, despite being established only six years ago in 2012.
This Institute currently has thirty Member countries, and they are at the heart of this changing global energy landscape—as they seek to design their future energy systems against the background of population growth, rapid urbanization, economic growth and rising income levels—all of which will require governments to meet soaring energy demands. Additionally, as some of you might already know, only a few weeks ago in The Hague, Netherlands, on Oct. 16th, we launched the Global Commission on Adaptation, which I am honored to lead together with Ms. Kristalina Georgieva, CEO of World Bank and Mr. Bill Gates.
On the heels of one of the deadliest summers of climate-related weather disasters affecting countries all over the world, the new Global Commission on Adaptation aims to catalyze a global movement to bring scale and speed to climate adaptation solutions.
Even if countries meet the Paris Climate Accord goal of keeping the rise in Earth’s temperature below two degrees Celsius by rapidly adapting to new forms of energy, the effects of global warming will continue to manifest and intensify.
Millions of lives are being lost. And poor people who did the least to cause the problems are suffering the most.
Over the next two years, the Global Commission on Adaptation will make its action oriented “Action Plans” and will submit them to the United Nations Climate Summit meeting to be held in September next year. Based on that report adopted at the General Assembly, we will try to have a summit meeting for action on adaption. We will provide the roadmap for what new actions are needed and what must be done differently to secure our future.
The urgency around climate adaptation cannot be underestimated. We are at a point of no return. We can choose a path that can lead us toward a more climate resilient future, or we can continue with the status quo, putting at risk global economic growth and social stability that will undermine food, water, and energy security for decades to come.
Preparing for climate risks cannot be done by just one country, or in one sector, or just by governments alone. This is a global challenge requiring global coordination across boundaries. Climate impacts in one country can have effects on the other side of the world. We must learn from one another.
Adapting to climate will require a complete transformation of policies, programs, and projects across governments, the private sector, and civil society to ensure the well-being of humanity.
I believe that climate adaptation is achievable—at scale and at speed. In fact, the costs of adapting are less than the cost of doing business as usual. And the benefits many times larger.
Adaptation is not only the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to emphasize that we have invested for mitigating the climate phenomenon; however, we have not done much to adapt to the situation. That is why we must balance our work between mitigating and adaptation. And in that, of course, I think energy can play a critically import role.
Energy is a cross-cutting issue. When we say cross-cutting issue, energy and water as well as others are cross-cutting issues. Without these, you cannot do anything. Starting from goal number one until goal seventeen, most of the goals are directly incorporated with energy. So, without energy, we cannot do anything at this time.
I was able to study without energy and I was even drinking water from a stream at that time. But if I drink water from a stream today, I will get sick immediately. We are living in a very dangerous world at this time. Without energy, you cannot do anything. You cannot operate any small community. Therefore, sustainable energy is the most important.
There are some initiatives that I have taken – global education, quality education, global heath issues, gender equality, fighting against violence against women, and energy, and water. These are some of the initiatives I have taken in my time.
Sustainable energy for All is one initiative which is located in the beautiful city of Vienna led by Rachel Kyte who previously served as the Vice-President of World Bank. She is doing an excellent job.
We need to work very hard.
The International Energy Agency as well as everyone present here today are playing an important role for the promise of SDG 7.
Allow me to congratulate the World Energy Outlook team for the launching of WEO 2018. I would also like to encourage the IEA, and all stakeholders here to continue your very important work for sustainable development, building new connections and partnerships with many existing international organizations like GGGI and other organizations to work together
We have the capacity to ensure sustainable futures not only for us, but for succeeding generations to come.
Therefore, ladies and gentlemen, use your energy wisely and sustainably. That’s my message to you. And I thank you for all of your leadership.
Thank you very much!