Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin: Just Energy Transition Requires Doubling Efficiency, Increasing Renewables Capabilities & Supporting Developing Countries

The Transition Process Should Be Just & More Inclusive With Human & Local Community Priorities at the Forefront

Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin, UN Climate Change High Level Champion for Egypt and UN Special Envoy on Financing 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, said that achieving the goal of 1.5 degrees of global warming requires doubling energy efficiency and tripling renewable energy capacity by 2030, along with ensuring the flow of finance for the just energy transition in developing countries.

This came during his participation in a session entitled “How to make the Energy Transformation happen for Sustainable Development and Local Benefits” within the events of Dii Desert Energy Leadership Summit held in Dubai before COP28, with the attendance of Paul van Son, President of Dii Desert Energy, Frank Wouters, Chair of Advisory Board at Dii Desert Energy and MENA Hydrogen Alliance, Eng. Sharif Al Olama, Undersecretary for Energy and Petroleum Affairs at Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, United Arab Emirates, Francesco La Camera, Director General of IRENA, and Tarik Hamane, CEO of MASEN.

Mohieldin stated that achieving emission reduction targets requires increasing the rate of electricity in the consumed energy to about 30% at the end of the current decade, and supplying some sectors that are difficult to rely on electric power with zero emission fuels such as hydrogen derivatives and sustainable biofuels, with the need to reduce methane emissions by 75% by 2030.

Mohieldin noted that investment in clean energy is growing at an unprecedented speed, but it concentrated only in developed countries and China, while reports indicated that international financing flows to support clean energy in developing countries fell less in 2021 than in 2010, stressing the need to reduce capital costs to support the process of just energy transition in developing countries.

The climate champion explained that the just energy transition (JET) must be extended so that it becomes a comprehensive transition of economies towards clean energy that includes hard to abate sectors and food systems, and that the implementation of this transformation must not be limited to developed countries and that a general framework for the transformation process should be developed that can be applied in all developing countries at the regional and local levels.

He added that the JET process must be commensurate with its goal, be in line with the efforts of decarbonization and emission reduction, and suit the priorities and needs of developing countries in their efforts to achieve development, stressing the need for the transformation in the energy sector to be really just, so as to overcome debt crises in developing countries and be implemented through innovative mechanisms that support long-term sustainable development in these countries.

Mohieldin said that scaling up finance for climate and development action in developing countries can be done through a number of measures, including adopting new concessional financing policies that include low interest rates, long-term repayment and grace periods, reducing financing and investment risks by activating mechanisms of credit guarantee and credit enhancement, improving the legislative and regulatory environment for business to allow the flow of funds and encourage the private sector to participate in climate and development action, contributing to reducing the debt of developing countries through debt swaps and special drawing rights, activating foreign exchange guarantee mechanisms, and supporting domestic institutions and projects in developing countries.

Mohieldin stressed the need to take into account the needs of people for clean and safe energy at the forefront of the transformation process in the energy sector, and to strengthen the resilience of infrastructure related to this transformation to climate change through the effective implementation of the Sharm El Sheikh Adaptation Agenda (SAA).

He explained that the framework of JET aims to double renewable energy capacities, increase the rate of electricity of the consumed energy, support green hydrogen production alliances, and reduce methane emissions by 75% from their rates in 2020 by 2030.