Business and policy leaders came together during the opening week of COP22 in Marrakesh for Energy Day to demonstrate action on global efforts to decarbonize our energy system.

Energy Day was part of a series of thematic days taking place during the Moroccan climate talks – hosted by Climate Champions Laurence Tubiana and Hakima El Haité – and held under the auspices of the COP22 Presidency.

The day was jointly organized by Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), in cooperation with the Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy (MASEN) and the Moroccan Agency for Energy Efficiency (AMEE), and focused on action, solutions and access to a sustainable, just future for all.

“Closing the energy gap offers us one of the greatest economic opportunities of our lifetime,” said Rachel Kyte, CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All. “In 2016, the world needs an energy system that allows universal access, supports new jobs and meets our aspirations of a just, fair future for all. To achieve this, promises made must be promises kept.”

The Paris Agreement set urgent climate action firmly in the context of sustainable development. Conversations on Energy Day focused on how we achieve SDG 7, and secure universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy that can connect the current 1.1 billion people in the world who have little or no access to electricity, and the 2.9 billion people that still rely on smoky, dangerous solid fuels for cooking and heating. 

Speaking at the Energy Day press conference, Minister El Haité, Climate Champion and Moroccan Minister for Energy, Mining, Water and Environment, said: “This is a story of human rights. This is a story of development… This day for me is not just energy day, this is dignity day. This day is very important because energy is not only the sector that will give the maximum impact to reduce CO2 emissions, but it is also the sector that can allow dignity, development, and stability in the world.”

New announcements on energy productivity and renewable energy were also made by global businesses on Energy Day.  

RE100, a global, collaborative initiative with more than 80 of the world’s most influential companies who are working to massively increase demand for – and delivery of – renewable energy, announced that Dalmia Cement and Helvetia had joined the campaign and committed to use 100% renewable power across their operations. With this announcement, RE100 companies are now collectively creating over 100TWh of demand for renewable electricity – more than enough to power Morocco three times over. 

Swiss Re also announced they have committed to double their energy productivity and join EP100, a global campaign that works with companies to maximize the economic benefits of every unit of energy they consume.

The RE100 and EP100 initiatives are designed to work together to provide the least-cost decarbonization pathway for business, and today Dalmia Cement and Swiss Re become the first companies to be part of both campaigns led by The Climate Group, in partnership with CDP and the Global Alliance for Energy Productivity respectively. 

The Climate Action Agenda is hosted by the Climate Champions of France and Morocco, who have set out their detailed agenda to boost cooperative action between governments, cities, business, investors and citizens to cut emissions rapidly and help vulnerable nations adapt to climate impacts and build their own clean energy, sustainable futures.

To read the Energy Day press release, click here.

To watch the Energy Day recap video, as part of the Action Series, click here.