Over the past few years, with thedepletion of fossil fuels in the major sources such as the Middle East, thesustainable energy industry has established itself as a significant source ofenergy for many member states. Even though sustainable energy has increased itsmarket share significantly over the past few years, we are still far off fromit being available to everyone in the world. Since 2004, the renewable energyindustry has experienced rapid growth, and will be responsible for over 26% ofthe world’s energy production by 2020.
(International Energy Agency.) Of therenewable energy sources, hydropower provides the most energy with 15% of theglobal market share, and other non-hydropower sources contributing another 5%in 2012. (Renewable Energy Policy Network.) The major contributors are China,United States and Germany who plan to spend over 400 billion USD in researchand development of this industry in the upcoming few years. The InternationalEnergy Agency, Greenpeace, World Bank as well as other high profile nongovernmental organisations(NGO’s) have predicted an increase in the use of renewable energy; saying thatthe goals which have been set prior to 2010 have been met, if not exceeded.
Furthermore, the improvements on the accessibility of energy have been part ofthe Sustainable Development Goals set by the UN in 2015. So far, the access toelectricity has been improved, seeing a 8% rise in global access to electricitysince 2000. Despite the rapid growth this sectorof industry has experienced, approximately 15% of the world population still doesnot have access to energy. This means approximately 1.06 billion people live withoutreliable electricity service, and 80% of that population is concentrated in 20countries. More than half of the people that have no electricity live in subSaharan African nations. This region has the lowest electrification rate ofjust 37%.
Luckily, this figure has dropped to 17% in rural regions of thesecountries. The major challenge of this goal is to provide electricity at a ratethat outpaces the rapid population growth of Earth, which is predicted to reach8 billion by 2023. Definitionof Key Terms Renewableenergy The type of energy resource that is obtained from natural andrenewable resources such as solar power and does not use the natural resourcesthat exist in a limited amount of supply Nonrenewableenergy The type of energy that is obtained from finite naturalresources and therefore cannot be replenished at the same rate as they arebeing consumed Sustainableenergy The provision of energy such that the needs of the present donot jeopardize the future generations Solarenergy A type of energy obtained from the energy emitted by the sun Hydroelectricity A type of electricity generated from hydropower createdthrough the use of gravitational force of flowing water WindenergyA type of energy obtained from harnessing thewind with windmills or wind turbines Fossil fuels Fossilisedremains of prehistoric organisms resulting in natural resources such as coal,gas and oil Energytechnology A sector of science or technology with the goal of producingenergy that is safe as well as environmentally friendly and sustainable towardsthe future. GeneralOverview Sustainable energySustainable energy is seen by theglobal community as the most viable energy source for the future, replacingfossil fuels and other finite natural resources will inevitably deplete.
As of2012, fossil fuels provided 80.6% of global energy production. At this rate,fossil fuels are predicted to deplete by the end of the century. Also, the useof fossil fuel goes against the question that this committee is discussing, asit is neither modern nor sustainable. As mentioned in the Introduction, the UNhas made a significant progress in increasing the use of sustainable energy inthe world.
Taking into account the rapid growth of this particular market, theworld is predicted to have over 50% of its energy produced from sustainablesources in the next 20 years. Hydropower is the most prevalent sustainableenergy source at the moment, however solar energy and wind energy are predictedto soon take over as the leading sources of clean and sustainable energy. With an estimated 1.06 billionpeople in the world yet to have access to reliant and safe energy.
(Doesn’t link back to previoussentences) British Columbia, a province inSouthwestern Canada, implemented a carbon tax in 2008 that rose steadily over afour-year period to charge approximately $22.50 in today’s money per ton ofcarbon dioxide emitted by 2012. When the tax was first implemented, 47% ofBritish Columbians disapproved, and many politicians were highly skeptical ofthe ruling Liberal Party’s decision to pass a measure that seemed to be soradical.
Several Canadian businesses ran attack ads on the tax, claiming itwould damage worker productivity, employment, and satisfaction; nearly a decadelater, however, the results have been more indicative of good decision-makingthan anyone could have predicted. According to British Columbian EnvironmentMinister Mary Polak, the tax “performed better on all fronts” than even itsmost optimistic models had predicted, with carbon emissions droppingdramatically, the tax’s disapproval rating falling to 32 percent, and evenorganisations like the Business Council of British Columbia now claimingsupport for carbon taxing policies. Australia and the United Statespresent/are twoexamples of countries where disputes between parties or coalitions cause thereto be significant political opposition to renewable energy initiatives; bothcountries’ global leadership in combating climate change has been undermined asa result. In Australia, despite a trend of rampant desertification and itsconsequences that have ranged from unbelievably high temperatures to extendedperiods of extreme drought, the ruling Liberal/National coalition has longsupported a position of climate change denialism, with former Prime MinisterTony Abbott famously starting in 2015 that he found the frequently-verifiedtheory of global warming to be “absolute crap.” Although Abbott left office last year (he left in september 2015),his elimination of the Carbon Tax and gutting of all activities executed byAustralia’s Climate Commission still have yet to be reversed. Furthermore,President Donald Trump of United States has recently pulled America out of theParis Climate Accords, further showing their reluctance to join the globalstance against the push for sustainable energy. MajorParties Involved ChinaChina has been thedominant country in the year 2013 when it came to the investments the countryhas made towards sustainable energy that has accounted for over 36 billion USD.2013 had also been the year where its renewable power capacity surpassed fossilfuels as well as nuclear energy capacity for the first time.
It plans to spend360 billion USD on research and development by 2020. It is a global leader whenit comes to solar cell production, which is valued at around 15 billion USD. European Commission(EC)For the past fewdecades, the European Union (EU) as a country block has been one of the mostaggressive actors in furthering renewable energy development for which the EuropeanCommission is responsible for.Germany, the largest of these nations, has emerged as a green superpower, inpart because of its political system, on track to exceed an already ambitiousset of goals to shift rapidly toward a solar- and wind-based grid.
On 30November 2016, the Commission published a proposal for a revised RenewableEnergy Directive to make the EU a global leader in renewable energy and ensurethat the target of at least 27% renewables in the final energy consumption inthe EU by 2030 is met. UN EnvironmentalProgrammeThe United NationsEnvironment Program, or UNEP, is responsible for all UN activities related toenvironmental issues, ranging from air and water pollution to biodiversity andecological research to climate change and developing renewable energyinfrastructure. Sustainable EnergyFor All (SE4All) A United Nationsorganisation created by former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon which has takena leading role in providing incentives for sustainable energy as well asspecific goals which are encouraged to be met by 2030 to: provide universalaccess to modern energy services; double the global rate of improvement inenergy efficiency; as well as doubling the share of renewable energy in theglobal energy mix. UN-EnergyCreated at the 2002World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, UN-Energy is a suborganisation of the UN that establishes routes for cooperation between nationson sustainable energy technology and recognises initiatives that indicatemethods of producing sufficient energy for the future world. UN DevelopmentProgramme (UNDP)UNDP’swork on energy relates to the main targets of Sustainable Development Goal 7 onenergy: ensure universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energyservices, working with countries to make energy systems and usage moreefficient, and work to increase the global share of renewable energy. Timelineof Key Events When Event September 2000 The United Millennium Declaration, among other things, agreed to ensure environmental sustainability, which led to a global rush to develop sustainable energy industries. January 26th 2009 International Renewable Energy Agency launched with the goal of promoting a sustainable source of energy April 2012 The EU ‘Sustainable energy for All’ summit which had set goals for the incentives of sustainable energy May 2013 Energy efficiency summit focusing on setting goals for the future of sustainable energy Nov 30 – Dec 12, 2015 Climate change summit in Paris focusing on assessing the damage non-renewable sources of energy, and developing cost effective renewable energy sources Jan 1, 2016 The Sustainable Development Goal (SGD) was put into action, which had been agreed upon by more than 150 world leaders. This was a development on the Millennium Development goals, whereby 17 goals were introduced among which includes a goal aiming to provide affordable and clean energy for all.
Previousattempts to resolve the issue United Nations Millennium DevelopmentgoalsThe first effort by the United Nationsto encourage member states to control their pollution emissions among manyother goals by 2015. This was the first major step towards the development ofthe sustainable energy market that we know of today. By holding member statesto be accountable for their actions in the environment, it made the countriesturn to sustainable energy as the future of their energy source. This UNresolution marked the start of the global rush to improve the world for thefuture generations. Ensuring environmental sustainability was goal 7 of thesegoals.
United Nations Sustainable DevelopmentgoalsSeen as a development upon theMillennium Development goals, this was agreed upon the member nations after thedeadline for the previous goals have passed. This expanded upon the previousgoals, from having 8 goals to having 16 goals in total, and therefore providesa much more in depth guide on what countries should strive to achieve. Goal 7addresses the issue that was discussed about in this research report, providingclean and affordable energy for all.
Paris Climate AccordsParis Climate Accords was a major step towards a greener future for theworld, agreed upon by every member state with the exception of the US (whopulled out in 2017 due to a new policy under the Trump administration). Theseaccords incentivises countries to focus more on their environment and thusfocus on alternate forms of energy other than fossil fuels. This agreement hasresulted in a great improvement to therenewable energy market, and since then the growth of this market has beenexponential.
PossibleSolutions As the United Nations, there exists arestriction on what we can accomplish and what we cannot accomplish. Forexample we cannot directly interfere with the private sector of the economy,and neither can we enforce any country to something. Therefore solutions mustonly consist of suggestions and encouragements. It is therefore likely that much of thiscommittee will focus on encouraging the increase in the scope of projects tostimulate renewable energy programs in the developing world.
This is where theconcept of “leapfrogging”comes into play: if nations in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia,and Latin America can successfully transform their grids to 100% renewableenergy, they could actually enjoy considerable advantages over states like theUSA in the event of a fossil fuel energy shortage. Furthermore, if areas ofrapid development (such as Brazil, India, and China) are able to use renewableenergy resources so effectively that there is no need for increased carbonemission as a byproduct of development, the unwillingness to shift toward greentechnology in countries like Australia and the United States could perhaps becompensated for. Pricing and funding might be useful to add. Indeed, close examination of globalsun and wind maps indicates vast untapped resources across the developing world(Solar); with increased incentives both for domestic and internationalentrepreneurism in renewable energy, these resources could be distributed mosteffectively. The sunniest parts of our planet are on the Horn of Africa and inmidwestern South America, ideal locations for solar farms that could powerentire cities and transform millions of lives. An interesting trend to observeis the role of nations like China and India in this process, now a solar giant,China is likely to offer a great deal of resources and assistance in thisprocess. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)countries, however, may want to oppose Chinese dominance in this area, becauseChina’s quests for influence in Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa inparticular have not proven particularly benevolent.
Finally, certain initiatives on thistopic may refer back to Western Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia,and New Zealand, where governments do have the capacity to independently launchor monetarily incentivise renewable energy; perhaps some of these member stateswill agree to increased business scrutiny in this area. The greatest challengehere will be to write a resolution that is sufficiently vague so as not sooffend any of the highest per-capita polluters, but also sufficiently targetedso as to have a tangible impact on carbon emissions in countries and regionswhere the opinion of the United Nations remains highly valued.