On Wednesday 4th June, the United Nations Development Programme and Climate Parliament will launch “Renewable Energy for Parliamentarians: A How-To Guide”, an innovative new tool designed to help parliamentarians around the world effectively promote renewable energy through legislative action. The guide will be launched by the Administrator of UNDP, Ms Helen Clark, and the European Commissioner for Development, Mr Andris Piebalgs, at the first annual Sustainable Energy For All Forum, taking place this week at the UN Headquarters in New York.
The handbook is the latest fruit of a €3.1 million ($4.2 million), three-year joint project between UNDP and Climate Parliament, funded by the European Commission, designed to work together with MPs and Members of Congress from across the developing world to build awareness of the benefits of renewables, and assist them in the design and implementation of new laws, policies and budget lines to encourage the development of sustainable solutions to energy poverty.
The 80-page handbook includes an introduction to the different forms of renewable energy and how they work; an overview of the various policies that can support and catalyse growth in the renewable energy sector; a guide to drafting and passing robust and effective renewable energy laws; and case studies of successful legislation from around the world. It draws upon the considerable experience of both UNDP – the world's largest development agency – and the Climate Parliament, an international network of MPs dedicated to tackling climate change and energy poverty through renewable energy.
“1.2 billion people around the world still live in energy poverty,” argues the Chairman of the Climate Parliament, Sir Graham Watson. “Women must trek for miles to gather traditional fuels for dirty and dangerous cooking stoves that belch poisonous smoke into their homes. Children have no light in the dark evenings for reading or study. Mobile phones cannot be charged; entrepreneurs cannot power their businesses; potentially life-saving medicines cannot be properly refrigerated.”
“Access to energy could revolutionise these people's lives, but if we rely on carbon-intensive coal and gas to bring electricity to the world's poorest, we risk condemning present and future generations to living in a world scarred by droughts, heat waves, famines, and disease epidemics brought on by climate change.”
Mr Charles Chauvel, UNDP's Advisor for Parliamentary Development, agrees. “Renewable energy can bring heat, light and power to millions without relying on polluting, expensive fossil fuels. This new handbook will help MPs from less-industrialised countries to transcend the limits of traditional fossil energy systems, and bring clean, reliable power to their people for generations to come.”
“Although making the transition to renewable energy will not be easy, parliamentarians are in a unique position to take action,” he continued. “Elected legislators are the one group of people in the world who have all the tools we need to solve the climate problem: they vote on laws, taxes and budgets, oversee the operations of government, and have direct access to Ministers, Prime Ministers and Presidents. All that is required is understanding, personal commitment, and political will.”
You can download the guide from our Resources section.