Why does energy matter?

In Energy

Energy drives economies and sustains societies. Energy production and use is also the single biggest contributor to global warming. The energy sector accounts for about two-thirds of global greenhouse gas emissions attributed to human activity. 

More than a billion people still lack access to electricity, while 3 billion rely on dirty fuels like charcoal and animal waste for cooking and heating. Our challenge is to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels to produce electricity and heat and power our transportation systems, while making reliable, clean and affordable energy available to everyone on the planet. 

At UN Environment, we believe that sustainable energy presents an opportunity to transform lives and economies while safeguarding the planet. That’s why we’re working with governments to help them improve energy efficiency and increase the use of renewables in their countries and cities. We aim for sustainable energy to lay the foundation for resilient, low-emission economies and societies around the world. 

Our work on energy focuses on four areas:

  • Improving understanding of science
  • Providing governments with sound policy advice 
  • Catalysing public and private finance for clean energy
  • Supporting the uptake of clean energy technologies

Our work contributes to key UN processes such as the Sustainable Development Goals, the UN climate change convention, and the Sustainable Energy for All initiative. In 2013, through a partnership between UN Environment, the Government of Denmark and the Danish Technical University, the Copenhagen Centre on Energy Efficiency was established as the energy-efficiency hub of Sustainable Energy for All. The Centre also acts as the secretariat of the Global Energy Efficiency Accelerator Platform

UN Environment also hosts the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction, an initiative launched at COP21 as part of the Lima-Paris Action Agenda, which contributes to the objective of limiting global warming to well below 2°C.

In Energy