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ICLEI Position on Sustainable Energy
Approved by the ICLEI Global Executive Committee on 10 May 2022
Limiting the rise in global temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius (°C), preferably to 1.5°C requires reaching net-zero emissions by mid-century (United Nations, n.d.).
A rapid, effective and well-planned transition from generation to end-use – away from energy sources that release greenhouse gas emissions and short-lived climate pollutants over their entire life cycle (in particular fossil fuels) and wasting energy – towards zero-carbon sources and using enabling technologies across all sectors, starts now. This transition must be carried out efficiently and cost-effectively, enabling key actors to be part of the transition process, while balancing the differentiated needs of equity, energy access and affordability, energy security and sustainable development (Global 100RE Platform, 2015).
Building on the principles of sustainable development, the definition of sustainable energy involves meeting present energy needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs (United Nations, n.d.). We consider that such an energy system must rest on the foundation of energy sources whose use in the present does not compromise their availability in the future, i.e. renewable energy.
Therefore, the underlying characteristics of renewable energy are that it is energy derived from natural sources or processes, that are replenished faster than they are consumed (Natural Resources Defense Council, 2018; SEforAll, 2013).
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