TIME TO ACT

Never in all Earth’s history has one organism changed the biosphere so significantly, which has led to some geologists defining the last 10,000 years as the “Anthropocene” – the Age of Humans.This rapid change has included increasing deforestation and an accelerating loss of biodiversity. But the most insidious and pervasive change is to the climate system itself. In its latest report, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns that failure to reduce emissions could put society at risk of food shortages, refugee crises, flooding of major cities and entire island nations, and mass extinction of plants and animals. But solutions exist to limit global warming. If we double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix and the rate of improvement in energy efficiency by 2030, we have a much better chance of keeping the global temperature rise below 2°C. Actions to reduce short-lived climate pollutants, such as black carbon and methane, could also slow down the warming expected by 2050 by as much as 0.6°C, and provide benefits for human health, as well as food and energy security. Solutions exist, we need to scale them up!

SUSTAINABLE ENERGY FOR ALL

Energy is at the heart of most critical economic, environmental and development issues facing the world today. Clean, efficient, affordable and reliable services are indispensable for global prosperity and can also lead to a sustainable future for all with multiple co-benefits for development, human health, environment and climate change.

The decisions we take today on how we produce, consume, and distribute energy will profoundly influence our ability to eradicate poverty, support development opportunities and respond effectively to climate change. Addressing these challenges is beyond the sole reach of governments, it will take the active engagement of all sectors of society including local communities, civil society and the private sector.

Sustainable development is not possible without sustainable energy. Access to modern energy services is fundamental to human development and an investment in our collective future. The Sustainable Energy for All initiative brings together top-level leadership from all sectors of society – governments, business and civil society. Working together, we can achieve a broad-based transformation of the world’s energy systems and build a more prosperous, healthier, cleaner and safer world for this and future generations.

Setting a Vision in Motion

In September 2011, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon shared his vision for making sustainable energy for all a reality by 2030. He launched Sustainable Energy for All as a global initiative that would mobilize action from all sectors of society in support of three interlinked objectives:

  • providing universal access to modern energy services;
  • doubling the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency; and
  • doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.

Learn more about the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative and discover how UNEP is contributing to the initiative.

THE SHORT TERM CHALLENGE

Reducing Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (CCAC) provides an opportunity for quick gains through reducing Short-Lived Climate Pollutants. Scientific evidence indicates that action to reduce SLCPs (including methane, black carbon and hydrofluorocarbons), could slow down the warming expected by 2050 as much as 0.5 °C and provide multiple benefits by improving people’s health, increasing food security, enhancing energy efficiency and alleviating poverty. The Climate Air and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), though 11 high impact initiatives operating in various sectors including brick production, transport, waste management and across sectors, is working to ensure rapid delivery of climate and clean air benefits. Discover how the coalition brings together nations, institutions, organisations and companies to reduce short-lived climate pollutants at: http://new.ccacoalition.org

WE HAVE THE POWER

What can on person, or even one nation alone, do to slow, or reverse, climate change? Can solutions be implemented, scaled up and replicated? For more than two years, ten leading Magnum photographers --Jonas Bendiksen, Michael Christopher Brown, Bieke Depoorter, Thomas Dworzak, Chien Chi Chang, Stuart Franklin, Sohrab Hura, Moises Saman and Jerome Sessin -- have travelled the word to answer these questions and document some of the solutions being implemented by UNEP, UN Women, UN-Habitat and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to address climate change.

Commissioned by the United Nations Environment Programme, the photographers have captured powerful stories that provide compelling proof that climate action is building worldwide in countries, cities, and communities everywhere. These pictures show that the tools exist to meet our needs without compromising the health and wellbeing of the planet for future generations. They also demonstrate that it is possible to implement them quickly when needed.

Just one month until the opening of the international climate talks in Paris known as COP21, these photo essays bear witness to the solutions already undertaken throughout the world. This exhibition takes people to Liberia, France, the Philippines, Ethiopia, Chile, Kenya, Peru, Vietnam, Trinidad & Tobago and Brazil where people are taking action to help close keep global temperature rises to just 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. From market transformation for efficient lighting in Chile to bus rapid transit systems in Addis Ababa, these images show that we, the people, have the power to make change. We have the power to build the sustainable future of tomorrow.

MAGNUM PHOTOS

Magnum Photos is a photographic cooperative of great distinction that is owned by its photographer-members. Acclaimed for their powerful individual vision, Magnum photographers chronicle the world and interpret its people, events, issues and personalities with empathy for their subject matter. Founded at the MoMA after the close of World War II in1947 by the legendary Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, George Rodger and David "Chim" Seymour, Magnum Photos celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2007.

Today the agency encompasses over 70 members of extraordinary talent and diversity and reflects a longstanding tradition of individual vision. Through its four editorial offices in New York, London, Paris and Tokyo, a digital library of 450,000 images, and a network of 15 subagents, Magnum Photos provides photographs to the press, publishers, advertising, galleries, and museums across the world. Its Cultural Department produces more than 200 exhibitions per year worldwide.

By capturing defining moments of the 20th century with iconic images that have shaped our collective memory, Magnum Photos continues to set a standard for photographic integrity and authorship.

For more information about Magnum Photos, please visit www.magnumphotos.com

United Nations Environment Programme

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the voice for the environment in the UN system. Established in 1972, UNEP’s mission is to provide leadership and encourage partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations. UNEP is an advocate, educator, catalyst and facilitator promoting the wise use of the planet’s natural assets for sustainable development. It works with many partners, UN entities, international organizations, national governments, non-governmental organizations, business, industry, the media and civil society. UNEP’s work involves providing support for: environmental assessment and reporting; legal and institutional strengthening and environmental policy development; sustainable use and management of natural resources; integration of economic development and environmental protection; and promoting public participation in environmental management.