International work at a policy level over the past year has focused on engaging with the European Commission in the area of the EU’s contribution to the Paris Agreement, and on our energy access programme, showcased at COP26, which helps developing countries adopt a low carbon pathway.
In its COP26 presidency role, the UK Government asked Energy Saving Trust to establish a small secretariat in Brussels to help build the profile of the UN’s Race to Zero initiative in Europe. In an acknowledgement that governments are unlikely to achieve the Paris goals on their own, Race to Zero engages with businesses in order to encourage parallel commitments.
As secretariat of a steering committee drawn from across government departments, including the Department for Business, Energy and Industry, the Cabinet Office and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, we delivered a suite of online events for businesses, and a series of high-profile Brussels embassy lunches with the aim of co-creating solutions for achieving 2050 targets.
At COP26 our Low Energy Inclusive Appliances (LEIA) programme was integral to a raft of Energy Saving Trust events linking energy access with resilience. Partnership and communications manager Sarah Hambly says: “We set out to show how access to affordable, energy efficient appliances can help accelerate a just and inclusive clean energy transition and help vulnerable communities adapt to climate change.”
As co-secretariat of Efficiency for Access, Energy Saving Trust took a lead role at the COP26 Resilience Hub, home to the UN’s Race to Resilience campaign which aims to bolster the climate resilience of 1m people globally and recognises the importance of adaptation alongside mitigation.
Efficiency for access was recognised as a key initiative for international collaboration to deliver the Glasgow Breakthrough on Power, part of a series of clean energy commitments made by world leaders at COP26. The breakthrough vision, which aligns closely with our own in areas like off-grid and access, will be taken forward to 2025 by the Energy Transition Council.
Head of international Emilie Carmichael says: “As Efficiency for Access co-secretariat we’re driving an agenda on behalf of multiple partners. Only by collaborating can we hope to meet the challenges ahead.”
With COP27 scheduled for Africa, the opportunity exists to focus on helping low and middle income countries adopt a clean and just development pathway. Again, partnership will be key. Emilie says: “Energy Saving Trust has always built bridges between stakeholders. It’s one of our USPs.”