For Immediate Release
March 25, 2022
NEW YORK – The Foundation for Renewable Energy and Environment’s collaboration with the international community has produced advancements that address a host of climate change needs.
Collaboration with the United Nations
FREE is an official observer and participant in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, or UNFCCC. As an official observer, FREE participates at meetings and conferences in the UNFCCC process, debates with researchers from non-governmental organizations, and contributes briefing papers to the public record of UNFCCC meetings of the Conference of Parties.
The UNFCCC, or “Convention,” is the United Nations entity tasked with supporting the global response to the threat of climate change. The Convention is the parent treaty of the 2015 Paris Agreement. The Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty on climate change. It was adopted by 196 Parties at the 21st Conference of the Parties, or COP 21, in Paris, on December 12, 2015, and entered into force on November 4, 2016.
FREE members participated at COP 21 and contributed to discussions that lead to the Paris Agreement. FREE’s contribution to COP 21 focused on the promotion of a “polycentric strategy” to initiate and implement programs to realize just and sustainable solutions to climate change. FREE President Dr. John Byrne and FREE Research Director Dr. Job Taminiau participated in the proceedings and submitted a position to the UNFCCC, “A Polycentric Response to the Climate Change Challenge Relying on Creativity, Innovation, and Leadership.”
FREE members have actively participated in UNFCCC proceedings since the 1997 Conference of the Parties 3 in Kyoto, Japan. FREE members have participated by submitting position papers and attending eight of the Conference of the Parties meetings.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Dr. John Byrne, FREE president, has participated in scientific assessments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, as a contributing author and expert reviewer. The IPCC is the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change.
Dr. Byrne has contributed since 1992 to Working Group III of the IPCC. His work is published in IPCC assessments which led to greater global awareness of the problem and the award of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize to the Panel.
Endorsement of FREE’s SEU Model from the Asian Development Bank
FREE’s work on sustainable energy financing has received international attention, including an endorsement by the Asian Development Bank. On June 24, 2011, Asian Development Bank’s Report, Second Annual Asia-Pacific Dialogue on Clean Energy Governance, Policy, and Regulation, said that as part of the priority to facilitate the scale-up of energy efficiency and renewable energy, the Communique recommends policy-makers to consider “establishing a Sustainable Energy Utility (SEU). […] to fund energy efficiency and renewable energy as infrastructure investments.”
FREE members developed the Sustainable Energy Utility, or SEU, model to address energy and environmental crises in an environmentally, socially and economically sustainable manner.
FREE’s pioneering work on sustainable energy financing was also highlighted by the International Energy Agency (IEA) in Energy Technology Perspectives (2016), a comprehensive review of technology and financing options for a low-carbon future. Stressing the need for “fast, radical, and effective policy action”, the IEA has featured one of FREE’s flagship innovations, the SEU model, in its annual Energy Technology Perspectives publication.
In 2016, the International Energy Agency (IEA) Energy Technology Perspectives said, “The Sustainable Energy Utility (SEU) has demonstrated its capacity “to address many barriers to tapping into the local sustainable energy potential.”
A White House announcement from President Obama recognized the Delaware SEU for its successful $70.2 million bond offering which received a AA+ rating by Standard & Poor’s. “The Sustainable Energy Utility (SEU) [is] a one-stop shop for […] energy efficiency solutions,” the White House said on December 2, 2011.