Global leaders from governments, business and the UN have gathered at a high-level meeting at COP22, in support of a transition to 100% renewable energy worldwide to achieve the climate goals of the Paris Agreement.
The meeting was hosted by the Moroccan Presidency of COP22 and the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), a coalition of 47 governments, to assess how a global transition to 100% renewable energy would help to limit global warming to 1.5°C degrees above pre-industrial levels.
Supported by the UN Development Programme and Sustainable Energy for All, with The Climate Group and RE100 as contributing partners, the meeting included participants from the governments of Morocco, Ethiopia, Costa Rica, the City of Oslo, the Australian Capital Territory, Sumba Islands; as well as civil society actors, and RE100 members Mars and IKEA.
Salaheddine Mezouar, COP22 President, opened the event saying: “Renewable energies do not only mitigate our impact on climate change but open the way to new models of sustainable development with new investments, new industries and new jobs."
The meeting was unprecedented in the international climate process, gathering leaders to showcase significant support for the 100% renewable energy transition.
Wael Hmaidan, Executive Director, Climate Action Network (CAN), a network of 1,100 non-governmental organizations that helped facilitate the discussions, said: “This is a very strong message we are sending out today,” “It is clear that we are all heading to a renewable energy future, the question is how fast.”
Barry Parkin, Chief Sustainability & Health and Wellbeing Officer, Mars, Incorporated called for stakeholders to scale-up cooperation and collaboration to combat climate change. He emphasized the key role of the private sector in advancing global climate action at this crucial moment in political and economic history.
Mars was the first US business to join the RE100 campaign of global corporates committed to 100% renewable power, which is run by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP. The company has recently signed a contract to buy wind power in Mexico and earlier this year, following a similar UK announcement earlier this year.
Steve Howard, CSO, IKEA, a founding member of RE100, was a also key speaker at the meeting and highlighted the company’s journey towards 100% renewables by 2020 as an example to other corporates.
IKEA, which has installed almost 700,000 solar panels on its stores and distribution centers worldwide, announced plans for a solar installation at its Midwest distribution center under construction in Joliet, Illinois in the US. Installation will begin in Spring 2017, with completion expected in Autumn 2017 and it will be the largest rooftop array in the state. The project will make IKEA owner of three of the state’s largest solar rooftop installations, with its arrays in the Chicago-area at IKEA stores in Bolingbrook and Schaumburg.
Damian Ryan, Acting CEO at The Climate Group, said: “I am optimistic about the momentum we are seeing. 30 leading companies have joined RE100 so far this year. Together, the current membership of 83 businesses is creating demand for more than 100 terawatt hours of renewable electricity – more than enough to power Morocco three times over.
He continued: "But if we’re going to see hundreds of thousands of companies setting and delivering on ambitious energy goals in the years to come, every leading corporate must become a compelling advocate of renewable energy.”