SUSTAINABLE ENERGY FOR ALL A KEY GOAL IN RIO
SG’s initiative to guide discussion at major conference
Photo courtesy of sustainableenergyforall.org
As discussions preceding the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development have kicked off in Rio de Janeiro, questions are being asked about how to deal with one of the thorniest issues that delegates will have to cope with: energy.
Clean energy is a critical component of sustainable development. Energy usage has risen by 70 percent since 1971, and will continue to rise at a rate of 2 percent annually if nothing changes, according to IAEA figures. About 90 percent of this energy expenditure comes from fossil fuels – a limited resource, and a leading contributor to climate change. Energy-related emissions, in fact, account for more than four fifths of all carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere each year.
The UN’s solution is to expand energy usage across the developing world, while going green in the process. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s “Sustainable Energy for All” initiative is designed to make sustainable energy sources an option for all of the world’s people by 2030.
How will this work? The Secretary-General has used his pulpit position to advocate the development of green energy sources around the world. He has applauded the efforts that have embraced the call for energy for all.
One such country is Ghana, which has electrified many rural communities (67 percent of the country is now on the grid, up from 25 percent in 1989) and committed to using getting 10 percent of its energy from renewable resources by 2020.
Another initiative to have earned Mr. Ban’s congratulations is Brazil’s Luz Para Todos, or “Light for All” campaign. This ambitious project aims to bring light to the 12 million Brazilians currently living without access to electricity, largely through solar and biogas power. 11 million Brazilians have already been reached by this program, but officials say they remain committed to getting power to the final million.
Projects like Mr. Ban’s Sustainable Energy for All Campaign raise awareness about crucial issues like clean energy consumption. While it is up to the UN member states to adopt the proposals that it recommends, Mr. Ban’s program is an important guide, and will serve as cornerstone of Rio+20.