Honorable Ministers, distinguished delegates, dear colleagues,
On behalf of the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, I would like to thank the Ministry of Ecology and Environment, MEE and National Development and Reform Commission, NDRC, for hosting this Thematic Forum on Green Silk Road of the 2nd Belt and Road Forum to discuss the climate action that can be takenfor a greener and more sustainable world.
Over the next three years, the global economy is projected to grow by 3% on average. Although economic prosperity is overall on the rise, we know that the global and local economies are fragile, and particularly so to the effects of climate change. It is clear that climate change poses environmental risks beyond anything seen in the modern age, and we are only starting to grasp its potential economic effects.
To give a few examples, think of the global sprawling of air pollution. Bad air quality is responsible for more than 7 million premature deaths each year. These numbers are likely to increase. Other examples are drop in farmland’s yields in a once-fertile agricultural area due to hotter weather and drought; and destroyed infrastructure and health consequences because of increased flooding and extreme weather. Rebuilding that infrastructure from a flood is a setback for that society – resources that are no longer available to be used on something more needed and valuable. Without urgent action, climate impacts could push an additional 100 million people into poverty by 2030. We cannot have sustained and inclusive growth without tackling these challenges with a sense of urgency and through broader green participation.
A clear climate action is to close the energy efficiency gap around the world. New investments in power grids can yield long term benefits for energy efficiency, resistance to extreme weather and greater reliability. De-carbonizing our power grids is needed to meet the greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. One cost-effective means to do so, is Solid State Lighting (or SSL in short), which offers many benefits, including longer life thus reducing maintenance costs, energy savings, better quality light output, and they are also generally safer with lower voltage, smaller, more flexible in shape, and more durable compared to other lighting sources. Solid State Lighting offers environmental outcomes at a lower cost while unleashing innovation in the low-carbon technologies of tomorrow.
At present, the global market penetration of SSL continues to gain momentum, and it is expected to stand at 25% by 2021. China is the largest SSL manufacturing and exporting country, and in 2018 alone, saved 279 billion kWh of electricity by SSL application, equivalent to 220 million tons of carbon emissions reduction. China’s investments in SSL reflects its serious attitude towards the Paris Agreement implementation.
This year, UNDP celebrates 40 years in China, and over the last 20 years, we have worked with China to phase out incandescent lamps, transform LED marketization and promoted Solid State Lighting. Examples of achievements are the Roadmap of Phasing-out Incandescent Lamps, and the National 13th Five-Year Plan for the Development of China's Solid-State Lighting Industry to guide the development of green lighting in China.
Today, UNDP and NDRC, together with other international organizations, co-launch the Belt and Road Green Lighting Initiative to share China’s lighting experiences so as to help other countries in finding greener solutions to lighting. Partner countries could leapfrog their development to low-carbon and sustainable solutions, avoiding the carbon-intensive and inefficient development path followed in the past by developed countries.
The impacts and consequences of climate change are expected to become more intense in the coming years. We already have agreed and set out our common global goals, seen in the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement. This is a once-in-a-generation chance to respond to the universal challenge for climate change. UNDP is glad to join hands in this Thematic Forum on Green Silk Road of the 2nd Belt and Road Forum to build a greener and more inclusive world, contributing to a brighter future for the next generation while leaving no one behind (and no one in the dark).