Climate change is the major, overriding environmental issue of our time and adds considerable stress to our societies and to the environment. From shifting weather patterns that threaten food production, to rising sea levels that increase the risk of catastrophic flooding, the impacts of climate change are global in scope and unprecedented in scale. Without drastic action today, adapting to these impacts in the future will be more difficult and costly.
An historic agreement to combat climate change and unleash actions and investment towards a low carbon, resilient and sustainable future was agreed by 195 nations in at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP21). Through the resulting Paris Agreement , nations of the world have underlined that climate change is a threat to the security and prosperity of all societies, and can only be addressed through unity of purpose. A sustainable future benefits all of humanity.
Transportation plays a large role in the global challenge of tackling man-made climate change. With the number of vehicles around the world predicted to triple by 2050, maximizing fuel efficiency by using the existing cost effective technologies could halve CO2 emissions from the global car fleet by 2050.
The Global Fuel Economy Initiative (GFEI) is a partnership of UN Environment, International Energy Agency, International Transport Forum, International Council on Clean Transportation, Institute for Transportation Studies at UC Davis, and the FIA Foundation, which works to secure real improvements in fuel economy, and the maximum deployment of existing fuel economy technologies in vehicles across the world. The goal of the initiative is to increase worldwide fuel efficiency in light duty motor vehicles by 50% by 2050.
UN Environment is a key partner of the UN Secretary-General’s Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) initiative that promotes access to affordable and reliable energy for people to live a productive, healthy, secure life, while respecting the planetary constraints that we all face as a result of climate change. The work of SE4All is driven by three objectives to be achieved by 2030: ensure universal access to modern energy services; double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency; and double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.
The Global Lighting Challenge is a new energy efficiency initiative led by the Clean Energy Ministerial (members include the U.S. and Canadian governments) and the UN Environment en.lighten initiative. It is a race to reach cumulative global sales of 10 billion high-efficiency, high-quality and affordable advanced lighting products, such as light-emitting diode (LED) lamps.
A majority of the global energy system is based on fossil fuels which contributes about 60% of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions responsible for climate change. Despite the recent fast rate of technological innovation and cost reduction, renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies must still compete with carbon intensive energy technologies. UN Environment supports the new advances in solar, wind, geothermal, bio power and a variety of new energy storage systems, to encourage American and Canadian business and government leaders to make advances in renewables and energy savings.