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Remarks by Dr. Rajiv J. Shah at the World Leaders Summit at the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland

As delivered on Tuesday, November 2, 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland

Thank you, Dana. Hello everyone.

Thank you to the leaders here today – especially the outstanding and inspiring young leaders of the Earth Shot Prize.

I’m honored to join my private sector and civil society colleagues for this important conversation.

This week, we come together to respond to the existential threat of climate change.

We also come together at a moment when the pandemic has exacerbated deep, deep inequities between those with means and those without.

It is now clear the fight for the planet must also offer hope and opportunity for all its people.  And thanks to advances in renewable energy technology, that is now possible.

Unfortunately, from the Industrial Revolution to today’s Covid-19 vaccines, advances in science and technology have often been inequitably distributed.  We see this inequity with energy.  Today, people in OECD countries currently consume, on average, eight thousand kilowatt hours of electricity each year, while 3.6 billion people in 81 energy-poor countries use less —often far less — than one thousand kilowatt hours per year.  And 760 million people of those – so many of them women and girls – still live completely in the dark.

The question this week is whether humanity will do everything we can to ensure the renewable energy transition that’s so desperately needed for our planet will also better the lives of everyone everywhere.

For more than 108 years, The Rockefeller Foundation has applied the frontiers of science and technology to lift humanity.

Today, together with the IKEA Foundation’s Per Heggenes, the Bezos Earth Fund, and the government of Italy, we want to ensure we change energy for good for everyone.  Along with dozens of nations, multilateral institutions, and international organizations, we’re pleased to launch the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet.

This new Alliance will stand with the dozens of energy-poor nations seeking to accelerate their energy transitions in a way that also offers hope and opportunity for all their people.  Our work will be led by these countries themselves as they transition from coal and other fossil fuels, create jobs, and expand energy access to those without.

With more than $10 billion dollars, our Alliance will offer these partners catalytic capital that can unlock investment from private markets and innovative financial instruments.  And today, we’re opening a call for partnerships to expand our support to dozens of additional nations beyond the 12 countries in which we are already operational and active.

We ask each of you to join our efforts.

Together, we can cut billions of tons of CO2, avoiding a future where today’s energy poor countries contribute 75 percent of global emissions.  Our initial target for carbon reduction is 4 billion metric tons.

We can collaborate with industry and entrepreneurs to create tens of millions of green jobs in nations with rapidly growing populations and very young populations.  Our initial target is to create 150 million green jobs.

And we can finally – 150 years after the industrial revolution, which in many ways started here in Glasgow – connect those trapped in poverty because they lack access to electricity.  Our initial target is to reach each and every one of those 760 million people.

From Bihar, India to Abuja, Nigeria, our programs are already active and delivering real, concrete, measurable results, reducing carbon, expanding access, and creating jobs.

In fact, together, we can do what was once un-imaginable: ensuring the fight for our planet also lifts of all our people.

Thank you and please do join us.

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