GOODENERGYSOLUTIONS

Ensuring access to modern energy services, doubling the rate of improvement in energy efficiency and doubling the share of renewable energy can revitalize the regional economy, combat climate change and go a long way toward ensuring equal opportunity for all.

Rae Kwon Chung,
Director, Environment and Development Division,
United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)

The world is faced with two urgent energy-related challenges today that require immediate and focussed attention by governments and international policy-makers.
The first one is related to energy access. More than one billion people today live without access to energy – that is 1 in 5 people on the planet who still rely on polluting fuels like kerosene, wood, charcoal, or animal waste for cooking and heating. These communities are trapped in extreme poverty and without access to the most basic energy services, their situation is set to change very little over the next 20 years.

In developed economies, where modern energy services are abundant, lies the second challenge – waste and pollution. The majority of the world’s energy is produced by fossil fuels that emit carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases (GHG) that contribute to changes in the Earth’s climate. Global warming has a devastating impact on the environment, biodiversity, and human life.

Scientists have said that in order for us to avoid these dramatic, irreversible changes to the climate, we must cut GHG emissions by up to 80 percent by 2050, and completely by the end of the century. The future of the climate therefore depends on the reversal of this trend and our ability to meet the world’s energy needs with low-carbon systems.

The key to both challenges lies in employing good energy solutions. Energy that is renewable, universally accessible, clean, and efficient. 

GOOD

• 1 in 5 people on the planet live without access to energy.

• 2.9 billion rely on wood or other biomass for cooking and heating, resulting in indoor air pollution that causes 3.4 million deaths each year. Cookstove smoke is considered by some to be the largest environmental threat because it kills more than malaria (1.2 million) and HIV/AIDS (1.5 million) each year. Without action deaths will double by 2050.

The world is faced with two urgent energy-related challenges today that require immediate and focussed attention by governments and international policy-makers.

The first one is related to energy access. More than one billion people today live without access to energy and still rely on polluting fuels like kerosene, wood, charcoal, or animal waste for cooking and heating. These communities are trapped in extreme poverty and without access to the most basic energy services, their situation is set to change very little over the next 20 years. 

ENERGY

• Coal accounts for 73% of power sector GHG emissions. Fast-growing economies like China and India are having to import coal as domestic supplies cannot keep up with increasing demand.

• In 2015, the world emitted 36 billion tons of carbon dioxide to produce energy.

In developed economies, where modern energy services are abundant, lies the second challenge – waste and pollution. The majority of the world’s energy is produced by fossil fuels that emit carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases (GHG) that contribute to changes in the Earth’s climate. Global warming has a devastating impact on the environment, biodiversity, and human life.

SOLUTIONS

• Renewable energy sources have gone from being prohibitively expensive to being a feasible alternative for future energy supply. But large untapped potential remains - renewable sources of energy contributed only 9.3% of the world’s energy needs in 2015.

• India’s demand for energy is expected to grow by 95 percent by 2030. This energy requirement could be significantly decreased by 40 percent in a scenario of high energy efficiency.

Scientists claim that in order for us to avoid dramatic, irreversible changes to the climate, we must cut GHG emissions by up to 80 percent by 2050, and completely by the end of the century. The future of the climate therefore depends on the reversal of this trend and our ability to meet the world’s energy needs with low-carbon systems.

The challenge we face is big, most definitely bigger than many people imagine. But so is the opportunity.

GOODENERGYSOLUTIONS

Energy that is renewable, universally accessible, clean and efficient. 

Contact

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