World Consumer Rights Day Empowering Consumers Through Clean Energy Transitions was observed on 15 March to increase public awareness of consumer rights, consumer protection, and empowerment as well as to call attention to a serious issue that has an impact on consumers worldwide.
The Competition and Consumer Affairs Authority (CCAA) participates in celebrating Consumer Rights Day 2023 with Consumers International and its 200 member organizations in over 100 countries around the world.
The theme for this year was 'Empowering Consumers Through Clean Energy Transitions'.
The goal of the global consumer movement is to increase access to clean energy in three key areas; clean homes, clean transport, and clean electricity supply.
CCAA states that the theme for this year is built around energy as most economies are facing a deepening energy crisis globally with global energy prices rising by 50 percent from last year and expected to remain high in 2023, impacting vulnerable consumers everywhere and compelling them to change their lifestyles to adjust the budget for paying their energy bills.
Minister of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, and Employment (MoICE), Karma Dorji said that climate change is a phenomenon that if not checked will eventually have a catastrophic impact on our planet and all life on it.
One of the major causes of climate change is the burning of fossil fuels for energy.
As consumers of energy, Lyonpo said that collectively we wield change-inducing influence over how energy is generated, by demanding clean energy and switching to clean energy sources.
'We may take a considerable time for a complete transition to renewable energy, but change we must, for our present and the future,' said the Lyonpo.
Adding, 'We must consistently apply pressure on energy-producing countries and governments and energy companies to provide a cleaner alternative.
Where choices are available, we must as consumers consciously switch to clean energy and associated technologies.'
Further, stating that the global consumer dialogue and action around energy are needed urgently as increasing access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy will play a major part in averting catastrophic climate change, with consumption shifts estimated to reduce future greenhouse gas emissions by 40-70 percent.
The press release from CCAA states that 75 percent of greenhouse gas emissions are contributed by fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and gas.
Moreover, the Sixth Assessment Report of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change points out that a demand-side adjustment might cut greenhouse gas emissions by up to 70 percent by 2050. As an energy consumer, 'We have the power to hasten the transition into sustainable energy and promote energy-efficient consumption.'
However, the statement added that the opportunity for consumers to accelerate clean energy transitions is currently lacking.
Consumers need to be supported and empowered to overcome consistent technological, infrastructural, financial, regulatory, and knowledge-related barriers, which stand in the way of transformative action, it further said.
Within three core domains- clean homes, clean transport, and clean electricity supply; World Consumer Rights Day 2023 calls on consumers to be responsible energy consumers and take action that accelerates clean energy transitions; and consumers advocates, governments, policymakers, and energy stakeholders to promote clean transport, clean electricity supply and empower the consumer to have access to clean sustainable energy.
In observing the 40th World Consumer Rights Day, the CCAA strives to focus on strengthening consumer protection while simultaneously encouraging consumers to be aware of their rights and drive the clean and sustainable energy transition.
To empower consumers to act, and support them in overcoming their barriers, the CCAA would endeavour to support the consumers considering their needs.
It includes knowledge, values, and awareness; availability and affordability; reliability and safety; implementation; use; and repair and redress.
As an oversight body, the CCAA would continue to work toward achieving its goals of consumer protection and safety within the ambit of the Consumer Protection Act 2012 and Consumer Protection Rules and Regulations, 2015.