The United Nations met last month to access the progress of
the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The results have been mixed, as the
global recession has caused many governments to focus on their internal
economies and less on global poverty.
The International Energy Agencies (IEA) assessment report, How to Make Modern Energy Access Universal addresses two primary
dimensions of energy poverty: lack of access to electricity and reliance on
traditional biomass for cooking. To achieve the MDGs set for 2015, another
400 million people must gain access to electricity in the next 5 years.
That’s 6.7 million new users a month!
The more ambitious target of universal access will
require investing $36 billion per year over the next 20 years.
Faith Birol of the IEA stated that this amount is equal to
just 12% of current fossil-fuel subsidies in developed nations. He emphasized
the need for political will to drive this change.
Here is a look into our future. We can
either ignore the warning and accept this outcome, or take the needed steps to
change course. We have become wealthy from our fossil-fuel addiction.
Shifting our national priorities will save lives around the world while
reducing our own polluting habits. Expanding clean energy access creates jobs
-- making this a win-win-win solution for all.
In partnership for the planet,