The rap artist Akon joined chief executives of energy companies and policy makers from around the globe to urge a shift toward clean energy as climate negotiators in Paris prepare to start a second week of talks.
The energy industry is responsible for more than two thirds of global greenhouse gas emissions, which scientists blame for more frequent heat waves, hurricanes and floods. Renewables are about to change the energy world in the same way as digital revolutionized the music industry, Akon told a conference in Paris at a venue near the United Nations climate summit.
“Renewable energy is in the same position now competing with the traditional way of energy,” said Akon, the stage name for Aliaune Damala Bouga Time Bongo Puru Nacka Lu Lu Lu Badara Akon Thiam. “Ultimately, we really have to pay attention how the world is moving forward and if we don’t pay attention, of course the people in the renewable energy space will eventually override the people with the traditional energy resources.”
Climate envoys from 195 nations this week will seek to reach a deal in Paris that would rein in greenhouse gases everywhere for the first time. In the past five years, more new renewable energy capacity has been installed worldwide than fossil and nuclear power together, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency.
Investment in clean energy reached $270 billion in 2014, with the industry employing more than 7.7 million people, the agency estimates. Akon, who last year launched an initiative to bring solar energy to 600 million African living without electricity, plans to start an academy for local entrepreneurs later this month in Bamako, Mali.