Monday, August 29, 2011

U.N. Advisers Push Annual $35b-$40b Global Plan to Expand Energy Use and Reduce Carbon

UNITED NATIONS -- At least $35 billion to $40 billion of annual investments will be required to link all people in the world with modern forms of energy by 2030, a goal that must be reached while reducing heat-trapping carbon dioxide emissions, a U.N. advisory group recommended yesterday.

Fifteen billion dollars of this should be in the form of annual grants donated by rich nations to expand electricity access to the poor. And the world should not only achieve universal access to energy by 2030, but it should do so while increasing efficiency by 40 percent overall, or 2.5 percent per year. Such steps will be necessary to not only reduce extreme poverty but also combat climate change.

These proposals and others were put forward yesterday by the Advisory Group on Energy and Climate Change (AGECC), a committee set up by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, charged with assessing the global energy picture and incorporating this into international climate change talks. Kandeh Yumkella, chairman of AGECC, insisted that his group's recommendations, while daunting, are not unprecedented.

"We call for smart private-public partnerships to do this, to spread electrification and to give access to various communities and to the energy-poor," said Yumkella.

Spending on new energy sources for the poorest may also be needed to head of future crises, Yumkella added. Most new oil and gas projects coming online today can be found in places like the Gulf of Guinea region in West Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia, where sophisticated hydrocarbon developments exist alongside pockets of extreme poverty and social unrest.

"It's not enough to just take energy out," said Yumkella.

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