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UNFCCC Executive Secretary Calls for a Faster Shift to a Low-carbon Economy

16 January 2013: In an address to the World Future Energy Summit, UNFCCC Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres urged the creation of a workable future energy mix that meets the world population's needs without increasing vulnerability. She highlighted that various studies stress the high cost of inaction to transform the world economy, noting that a cleaner future energy mix is a critical component of a low-carbon economy.

In her statement, Figueres underscored that incentivizing renewable energy investment provides opportunities for job creation and smart growth, as well as for the promotion of innovation in a knowledge-based economy. Noting that, in 2010, world electricity production by renewables passed the 20% mark, that in 2011 renewable energy investment topped one trillion US dollars, and that in 2012 the renewable energy industry created 1.5 million new jobs, she stated that the necessary transformation of the world into a low-carbon economy has begun.

Despite this progress, Figueres underscored that the necessary capital shift is not happening at the required pace or scale to keep global warming below 2ºC, and called for more effective action. In particular, she called on business leaders to "think beyond the quarterly bottom line," looking at longer-term energy efficiency and technology solutions to improve profitability and reputation with consumers and investors.

The World Future Energy Summit took place from 15-17 January 2013, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE). [UNFCCC Executive Secretary's Statement]