4 strategies for energy and climate change breakthroughs at the UN summits

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4 min read
fairly difficult
Two crucial United Nations-hosted events on climate change are coming up. Here's how countries can craft successful climate and energy policies to move us toward a lower-emissions future.
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Two important events hosted by the United Nations are coming up that are widely hoped to help address what the U.N. calls the "dual challenge"—fighting climate change and ensuring that poorer countries can develop sustainably. Energy is a central theme in both.

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For the first time in 40 years, the U.N. General Assembly is convening a global summit of world leaders focused solely on energy. If all goes as planned on Sept. 24, 2021, and in meetings surrounding the summit, they will consider a road map that includes tripling investment in renewable power and making affordable modern and clean energy available to everyone everywhere within the decade. The second event is the U.N. climate conference in November, where negotiators representing nations around the world will be asked to ramp up their countries' efforts to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. At a closed-door meeting on Sept. 17 in the run-up to that conference, the U.S. and European Union plan to announce a new effort in at least one area, according to Reuters: a global push to cut methane emissions by nearly one-third by 2030. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that comes from leaking oil and gas infrastructure, coal mines, agriculture and landfills. This year's climate summit will be the first to assess progress toward meeting the 2015 Paris climate agreement, and there are some remaining sticking points in how nations will meet their promised targets. Resolving these will be important for the credibility of the agreement and the willingness of developing countries to commit to further progress.

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As climate policy experts with decades of experience in international energy policy, we have identified four strategic priorities that would help provide the foundations for success in both the energy and climate change domains. What has been achieved so far? Despite the ambitious goals in many countries,…
Kristin Toussaint
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