Council of Engineers to support UN Secretary General’s call for zero emissions by 2050


The Council of Engineers for the Energy Transition (CEET) – an independent advisory council to the United Nations Secretary General – has been formally launched.

The CEET has been established with the aim of contributing to the UN Secretary General’s coalition to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, and providing engineering pathways to achieve comprehensive decarbonization by mid-century. It will be led and co-chaired by the Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the President of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN).

Decarbonizing the world energy system by mid-century to meet the 1.5° limit suggested in the Paris Agreement requires comprehensive action by all signatories. So far, the European Union, Japan, and the Republic of Korea, together with more than 110 other countries, have pledged carbon neutrality by 2050; China says it will do so before 2060. 2021 represents a landmark opportunity to place nations on the path to decarbonization by 2050 and meeting the emissions targets under their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). Engineers must be key actors within this process, as they have the technical knowledge, skills, and expertise needed to methodically plan and implement an inclusive and sustainable pathway to decarbonization.

At the invitation of the Co-Chairs, the CEET will meet three to four times per year, for example on the margins of the annual UNFCCC COP, the UN General Assembly Opening Debate, alongside the UNFCCC Regional Climate Weeks, and during the High-Level Political Forum. The CEET will gather world-class engineers from diverse sectors (power, industry, transport, buildings, chemicals) and stakeholders from academia, business, international organizations and the private sector, with the support of the Enel Foundation, the foundation of the Italian multinational manufacturer and distributor of electricity and gas. It will ensure that the most experienced engineers are invited to join, meeting geographic and gender-balanced representation, in order to achieve an inclusive, transparent, and diverse array of voices, perspectives, and relevant expertise. The CEET will comprise 50 world-class engineers that reflect a balance of multi-stakeholder constituencies.

The CEET will be officially formed in late-2021 and will focus on the following core activities:

  • solving the challenges of scaling key technologies in support of the global energy transition;
  • recommending guidelines to support Nationally Determined Contributions in line with the Paris Agreement;
  • publishing technical briefs on zero-carbon technologies, including breakthroughs technologies;
  • analyzing sectoral and integrated pathways at regional and local levels;
  • providing guidance and technical advice from a globally diverse expert perspective, ensuring a gender responsive energy transition and decarbonization.

A high-level Steering Committee will be established to act as an advisory group that supports the creation of the CEET and provides strategic direction to, and oversight of, the implementation of the CEET’s activities. The goal is to engage the following institutions:

  • Enel Foundation
  • United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
  • UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA)
  • Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL)
  • UN-Habitat
  • United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
  • United Nations Educational, Scientific, Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
  • United Nations Framework Conference on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
  • United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

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