21 People Were Murdered and Republicans Are Still Protecting The Gun Lobby

31 May

Last week, 21 people – including 19 children – were killed in a senseless act of gun violence. In the wake of this horrific attack, Republicans were quick to offer their thoughts and prayers, but unsurprisingly, doubled down on their extreme, wildly out-of-touch commitment to the gun lobby.

Instead of taking action to keep our children safe, Republicans across the country are blocking legislation, loosening gun laws, and protecting the gun lobby:

Associated Press: “Senate GOP blocks domestic terrorism bill, gun policy debate”

The Texas Tribune: “Confronted with mass shootings, Texas Republicans have repeatedly loosened gun laws”

The Guardian: “Democrats rush to push gun safety laws after mass shootings as Republicans stall”

In the past week, Republicans have offered nonsensical solutions and excuses for their refusal to combat gun violence in our country:

Heartland Signal: “Governor Asa Hutchinson (R-AR) on whether he would support raising the age to buy an AR-15 from 18 to 21: ‘No… That’s not going to be the solution and it’s going to cause more harm than good.’”

BuzzFeed’s David Mack: “TX Lt Gov Dan Patrick, a fierce opponent of gun control, says today’s shooting may have been caused by Texas schools having ‘too many entrances and too many exits.’”

Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “Twice in recent days [Herschel] Walker has fumbled questions on gun control: In one interview he seemed to suggest monitoring young people’s social media activity, and in another he dodged the question altogether.”

Buzzfeed: “Texas Officials Blame The School Shooting On Mental Health And Not The Guns That Were Used To Kill 19 Children”

Top Republican leaders – including Donald Trump, Senator Ted Cruz, and Governor Kristi Noem – doubled down on their commitment to the gun lobby at the NRA convention in Texas, just days after the shooting in Uvalde. 

Vox: “Days after school shooting, Republicans defend gun rights at NRA convention”

Washington Post: “Trump, Cruz join NRA leaders in defiant response to Uvalde shooting”

Insider: “Texas Gov. Abbott gave 2 different speeches about gun control at the same time with 2 different messages. One was in Uvalde, the other was at the NRA convention in Houston.”

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MAGA Republicans Owe Americans Answers on the Economy

31 May

Last night, President Biden published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal where he laid out his plan to combat inflation, lower costs for hardworking families, and continue our historic economic recovery. Meanwhile, MAGA Republicans have proven they have no interest in doing anything to lower prices for the American people. 

Every Republican lawmaker owes the American people answers as to why their party is doing nothing to fight inflation or lower costs: 

  1. What is the Republican plan to combat inflation and lower prices?
  2. How do Republicans explain their consistent votes against helping American families, including lowering the cost of insulin and gas, and helping boost the supply of baby formula?
  3. Why are Republican leaders like Sen. Rick Scott pushing an extreme, ultra-MAGA agenda that could raise taxes on millions of middle- and working-class families? 

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Secretary Blinken to Deliver Remarks for Foreign Affairs Centennial

31 May

Office of the Spokesperson

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken will deliver virtual remarks at 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, June 1, 2022.  Foreign Affairs Magazine, in the first discussion of its centennial event series celebrating the magazine’s one-hundredth anniversary, will host Secretary Blinken.

Secretary Blinken’s remarks will be live streamed on www.state.gov and www.YouTube.com/statedept .

For more information, please contact the Office of Press Operations at EventsandTravel@state.gov.

Samoa Independence Day

31 May

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

On behalf of the United States of America, I would like to congratulate all Samoans on the 60th anniversary of your independence on June 1.

The close friendship between Samoa and the United States is rooted in our strong historical, cultural, economic, and people-to-people ties.

Our longstanding partnership in building an open, connected, prosperous, resilient, and secure Indo-Pacific has enabled us to tackle numerous challenges, including responding to the global pandemic.  Together, we will advance our shared climate goals and expand bilateral trade and investment.  I look forward to deepening our comprehensive relationship with Samoa in the coming year.

Once again, I send my warmest congratulations to the people of Samoa on this special day.

Special Presidential Envoy for Climate Kerry and Assistant Secretary Medina’s Travel to Sweden

31 May

Office of the Spokesperson

Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry will travel to Sweden June 1-3 to lead the U.S. delegation to Stockholm+50, convened by the United Nations General Assembly in Stockholm, Sweden.  He will be joined by Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs Monica Medina, who will travel to Sweden May 31-June 4.

Stockholm+50 will commemorate the 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment and celebrate 50 years of global environmental action under the theme “Stockholm+50: a healthy planet for the prosperity of all – our responsibility, our opportunity.” At the conference, Secretary Kerry and Assistant Secretary Medina will engage with government counterparts, private sector actors, and civil society partners to advance efforts related to sustainable development, environmental protection, and nature conservation.

Secretary Kerry will also participate in the LeadIT Industry Transition Dialogue on June 1 to discuss low-carbon pathways on the road to net-zero in heavy industry.

For press inquiries, contact ClimateComms@state.gov.

Report: COVID-19 Slows Progress Towards Universal Energy Access

31 May

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a key factor in slowing progress toward universal energy access. Globally, 733 million people still have no access to electricity, and 2.4 billion people still cook using fuels detrimental to their health and the environment. At the current rate of progress, 670 million people will remain without electricity by 2030 – 10 million more than projected last year.

The 2022 edition of Tracking SDG 7: The Energy Progress Report shows that the impacts of the pandemic, including lockdowns, disruptions to global supply chains, and diversion of fiscal resources to keep food and fuel prices affordable, have affected the pace of progress toward the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 7) of ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy by 2030. Advances have been impeded particularly in the most vulnerable countries and those already lagging in energy access. Nearly 90 million people in Asia and Africa who had previously gained access to electricity, can no longer afford to pay for their basic energy needs.

The impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on energy have been compounded in the last few months by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has led to uncertainty in global oil and gas markets and has sent energy prices soaring. 

Africa remains the least electrified in the world with 568 million people without electricity access.  Sub-Saharan Africa's share of the global population without electricity jumped to 77 percent in 2020 from 71 percent in 2018 whereas most other regions saw declines in their share of the access deficits. While 70 million people globally gained access to clean cooking fuels and technologies, this progress was not enough to keep pace with population growth, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa.  

The report finds that despite continued disruptions in economic activity and supply chains, renewable energy was the only energy source to grow through the pandemic. However, these positive global and regional trends in renewable energy have left behind many countries most in need of electricity. This was aggravated by a decrease in international financial flows for the second year in a row, falling to USD 10.9 billion in 2019.  Tracking SDG7: The Energy Progress Report - Infographic

SDG7 targets also cover energy efficiency. From 2010 to 2019, global annual improvements in energy intensity averaged around 1.9 percent. This is well below the levels needed to meet SDG 7’s targets and to make up for lost ground, the average rate of improvement would have to jump to 3.2 percent. 

In September 2021, the United Nations High-Level Dialogue on Energy brought together governments and stakeholders to accelerate action to achieve a sustainable energy future that leaves no one behind. In this context, the SDG 7 custodian agencies, the International Energy Agency (IEA), the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD), the World Bank, and the World Health Organization (WHO), as they launch this report, are urging the international community and policymakers to safeguard gains toward SDG 7; to remain committed to continued action towards affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all; and to maintain a strategic focus on countries needing the most support. 

Key highlights on SDG7 targets

Access to electricity

The share of the world’s population with access to electricity rose from 83 percent in 2010 to 91 percent in 2020, increasing the number of people with access by 1.3 billion globally. The number without access declined from 1.2 billion people in 2010 to 733 million in 2020. However, the pace of progress in electrification has slowed in recent years which may be explained by the increasing complexity of reaching more remote and poorer unserved populations and the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Meeting the 2030 target requires increasing the number of new connections to 100 million a year. At current rates of progress, the world will reach only 92 percent electrification by 2030. 

Between 2010 and 2020, every region of the world showed consistent progress in electrification, but with wide disparities. Electricity access in Sub-Saharan Africa rose from 46 percent in 2018 to 48 percent in 2020, but the region’s share of the global access deficit rose from 71 percent in 2018 to 77 percent in 2020, whereas most other regions, including Central and Southern Asia, saw declines in their share of the access deficits. Sub-Saharan Africa accounted for more than three-quarters of the people (568 million people) who remained without access in 2020. 

Clean cooking

The share of the global population with access to clean cooking fuels and technologies rose to 69% in 2020, an increase of 3 percentage points over last year. However, population growth outpaced much of the gains in access, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa. As a result, the total number of people lacking access to clean cooking has remained relatively stagnant for decades. Between 2000 and 2010, this number was close to three billion people, or one-third of the global population. It dropped to around 2.4 billion in 2020. The increase was primarily driven by advancements in access in large, populous countries in Asia. In contrast, the access deficit in Sub-Saharan Africa has nearly doubled since 1990, reaching a total of around 923 million people in 2020.

A multisectoral, coordinated effort is needed to achieve the SDG 7 target of universal access to clean cooking by 2030. It is critical that the global community learns from the successes and challenges faced by countries that have attempted to design and implement clean household energy policies.


Ensuring universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy implies accelerated deployment of renewable energy sources for electricity, heat, and transport.  Although there is no quantitative target for SDG 7.2, custodian agencies agree that the share of renewable energy in total final energy consumption (TFEC) needs to rise significantly, even though renewable energy consumption did continue to grow through the pandemic, overcoming disruptions to economic activity and supply chains. While the share of renewable capacity expansion rose by a record amount in 2021, the positive global and regional trajectories mask the fact that countries where new capacity additions lagged were those most in need of increased access. Moreover, rising commodity, energy and shipping prices, as well as restrictive trade measures, have increased the cost of producing and transporting solar photovoltaic (PV) modules, wind turbines, and biofuels, adding uncertainty for future renewable energy projects. Renewable shares need to reach well over 30 percent of TFEC by 2030, up from 18 percent in 2019, to be on track for reaching net-zero energy emissions by 2050. Achieving this objective would require strengthening policy support in all sectors and implementing effective tools to further mobilize private capital, especially in least-developed countries, landlocked developing countries, and small island developing countries.  

Energy efficiency

SDG 7.3 aims to double the global rate of annual improvement in primary energy intensity—the amount of energy used per unit of wealth created—to 2.6 percent in 2010–30 versus 1990–2010. From 2010 to 2019, global annual improvements in energy intensity averaged around 1.9 percent, well below the target, and the average annual rate of improvement now has to reach 3.2 percent to make up for lost ground. This rate would need to be even higher—consistently over 4 percent for the rest of this decade—if the world is to reach net-zero emissions from the energy sector by 2050, as envisioned in the IEA's Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario. Early estimates for 2020 point to a substantial decrease in intensity improvement because of the COVID-19 crisis, as a result of a higher share of energy-intensive activities in the economy and lower energy prices. The outlook for 2021 suggests a return to a 1.9 percent rate of improvement, the average rate during the previous decade, thanks to a sharper focus on energy efficiency policies, particularly in COVID-19 recovery packages. However, energy efficiency policies and investment need to be scaled up significantly to bring the SDG 7.3 target within reach.

International Financial Flows

International public financial flows to developing countries in support of clean energy decreased for the second year in a row, falling to USD 10.9 billion in 2019, despite the immense needs for sustainable development in most countries and growing urgency of climate change. The amount was down by nearly 24 per cent from the previous year and may be worsened by the pandemic in 2020. Overall, the level of financing remains below what is needed to reach SDG 7, particularly in the most vulnerable and least developed countries. 

The decrease was seen in most regions, with the only exception in Oceania, where international public flows rose by 72 percent. The bulk of decreases were concentrated in Eastern and South-eastern Asia, where they fell 66.2 percent; Latin America and the Caribbean, where they dropped by 29.8 percent; and Central and Southern Asia, where they declined by 24.5 percent. 

Although the private sector finances most renewable energy investments, public finance remains key to attract private capital, including for creating an enabling environment for private investments, developing the needed infrastructure, and addressing perceived and real risks and barriers for investments in the energy transition. International public flows to countries that lack the financial resources to support their energy transitions constitute a large part of the international collaboration that will be needed for a global energy transition that would bring the world closer to achieving all SDGs.

Indicators and data for tracking progress

Tracking global progress for SDG 7 targets requires high-quality, reliable and comparable data for informed and effective policymaking at the global, regional, and country levels. The quality of data has been improving through national and international cooperation and solid statistical capacity. National data systems improve as countries establish legal frameworks and institutional arrangements for comprehensive data collection for energy supply and demand balances; implement end-user surveys (e.g., households, businesses, etc.); and develop quality-assurance frameworks. However, after the pandemic hit and disrupted the rate of progress toward Goal 7, more investment in quality statistics is needed to know where we stand and how to get back on track. This is especially important for developing countries, particularly Least Developed Countries, to inform their national energy policies and strategies to ensure no one is left behind. 



“The shocks caused by Covid-19 reversed recent progress towards universal access for electricity and clean cooking, and slowed vital improvements in energy efficiency even as renewables showed encouraging resilience. Today, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has triggered a global energy crisis, driving huge price spikes that are causing particularly severe impacts in developing economies. Many of these economies were already in dire financial straits as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, and overcoming these difficulties to get on track for Sustainable Development Goals will require massive and innovative financial solutions from the international community.”

Fatih Birol, Executive Director, International Energy Agency

“International public financing for renewable energy needs to accelerate, especially in the poorest, most vulnerable countries. We have failed to support those most in need. With only eight years left to achieve universal access to affordable and sustainable energy, we need radical actions to accelerate the increase of international public financial flows and distribute them in a more equitable manner, so 733 million people who are currently left behind can enjoy the benefits of clean energy access.”

Francesco La Camera, Director-General, International Renewable Energy Agency

“The 2022 Report finds that advances have been made towards achieving affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all, though not in pace for a 2030 fulfillment. Worse yet, two years of pandemic have negatively affected international investment flows to promote renewable energy in developing countries. These are the countries that most need investment to reach Goal 7, including in data collection to help monitor and evaluate sustainable energy policies and strategies.”

Stefan Schweinfest, United Nations Statistics Division 

"We believe SDG 7 is and remains an achievable goal and we urge governments and the global community to scale up efforts to integrate universal energy access into national energy transition plans, and to focus on the most remote, vulnerable and poorest unserved populations to ensure no one is left behind."

Riccardo Puliti, Infrastructure Vice President, The World Bank

“Millions of people are killed through heart disease, stroke, cancer, and pneumonia since they still rely on dirty cooking fuels and technologies which are major sources of air pollution. Women and children are particularly at risk – they spend the most time in and around the home and therefore carry the heaviest burden to their health and well-being. Transitioning to clean and sustainable energy will not only contribute to make people healthier, it will also protect our planet and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

Dr Maria Neira, Director, Department of Environment, Climate Change and Health, World Health Organization


This is the eighth edition of this report, formerly known as the Global Tracking Framework (GTF). This year’s edition was chaired by the World Bank.  

The report can also be downloaded at https://trackingsdg7.esmap.org/

Funding for the report was provided by the World Bank’s Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP). 

Urgent Action Needed to Defuse Violence in Democratic Republic of Congo, Senior Officials Tell Security Council, Urging Support for Ongoing Regional Efforts

31 May

With a brutal history of violence now threatening to repeat itself in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, senior officials briefing the Security Council today urged members to lend their steadfast support to regional efforts aimed at curbing the resurgence of militia attacks in the country’s eastern provinces, while warning of dire humanitarian implications for the broader Great Lakes region.

Adopting Resolution 2634 (2022), Security Council Calls on Gulf of Guinea Countries to Criminalize Piracy, Armed Robbery at Sea under Domestic Laws

31 May

The Security Council today unanimously adopted a text calling upon Member States in the Gulf of Guinea region to criminalize piracy and armed robbery at sea under their domestic laws, and to investigate, prosecute or extradite, in accordance with applicable international law, perpetrators of such crimes, as well as those who incite, finance or intentionally facilitate them.

G7 Foreign Ministers’ Statement on the Launch of an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile by the DPRK

31 May

Office of the Spokesperson

The text of the following statement was released by the G7 foreign ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America, and the High Representative of the European Union.

We, the G7 Foreign Ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America, and the High Representative of the European Union, condemn in the strongest terms the test of yet another Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) conducted on May 25, 2022, by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).  Like a number of ballistic missile launches the DPRK has conducted since the beginning of 2022, this act constitutes a further blatant violation of relevant UN Security Council resolutions and undermines international peace and security as well as the global non-proliferation regime.

We are very concerned by the unprecedented series of ballistic missile tests with increasingly versatile systems across all ranges, building on ballistic missile tests conducted in 2021.  Together with the evidence of ongoing nuclear activities, these acts underscore the DPRK’s determination to advance and diversify its nuclear capabilities.  These reckless actions flagrantly breach the DPRK’s obligations under relevant UN Security Council resolutions, which the Security Council most recently reaffirmed in resolution 2397 (2017).  They also pose a danger and unpredictable risk to international civil aviation and maritime navigation in the region.

We, the G7 Foreign Ministers and the High Representative of the European Union, reiterate our urgent call on the DPRK to abandon its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner and to fully comply with all legal obligations arising from the relevant Security Council resolutions.

We deeply regret that the Security Council has failed to adopt the draft resolution aimed at condemning the series of recent ballistic missile launches by the DPRK and strengthening measures against it despite support from 13 members.  We urge all UN Member States, especially Security Council members, to join us in condemning the DPRK´s behavior and reaffirm its obligation to abandon its weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs.  These acts demand a united response by the international community, including a united stance and further significant measures by the UN Security Council.

We reiterate our call on the DPRK to engage in diplomacy toward denuclearization and accept the repeated offers of dialogue put forward by the United States, the Republic of Korea and Japan.  By diverting its resources into weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missile programs the DPRK further aggravates the already dire humanitarian situation in the DPRK.  We urge the DPRK to facilitate access for international humanitarian organizations and for independent assessment of humanitarian needs such as food and medicines as soon as possible.

We also call on all States to fully and effectively implement all relevant Security Council resolutions, and to address the risk of weapons of mass destruction proliferation from the DPRK as an urgent priority.

The G7 remain committed to working with all relevant partners towards the goal of peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and to upholding the rules-based international order.

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