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US ex-vice-president joins UN green energy campaign

Posted on Feb 27, 03:10PM | IBNS

New York, Feb 27 : Supermodel and United Nations Goodwill Ambassador Gisele Bundchen is joining former United States Vice President Al Gore to urge support for the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's initiative to achieve universal access to modern energy services by 2030.

In ads that started airing this week, Bundchen and Gore stand with the head of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Kandeh K. Yumkella, to advocate for the Secretary-General's Sustainable Energy for All Initiative.

"Energy can transform economies, lives, continents, our planets. We have a historic chance to eliminate energy poverty," say Gore, Yumkella and Bundchen, who is a UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Goodwill Ambassador.

"Let's bring energy to all - for power, women, progress, growth, our future, energy for all."

Worldwide, almost 3 billion people rely on traditional biomass for cooking and heating, and about 1.5 billion have no access to electricity, according to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

The Sustainable Energy for All Initiative aims to achieve three inter-linked global targets by 2030: universal access to modern energy services; the doubling of energy efficiency; and the doubling of the share of renewable energy in the world's energy mix.

At the Rio+20 Conference last year, the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative received over USD50 billion in commitments towards actions under the initiative.

"Now it is down to making sure commitments are transformed into kilowatt hours for the people, and to support governments to do for the energy sector what they did for mobile phones - deregulate or unbundle the sector and incentivize private sector participation," said Yumkella.

Last week, UNEP released new studies showing that countries which switch from lamps, candles, flashlights and other traditional lighting systems to solar power can recover the costs in less than one year depending on the cost of the LED [light-emitting diode] system and the local price of kerosene.

Supporting both sustainable off-grid and on-grid lighting support can bring about major financial savings in a short time, as well as additional educational, health and environmental benefits, according to UNEP.

Ensuring environmental sustainability is one of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), anti-poverty targets world leaders have pledged to achieve by 2015.