Energy and Sustainable Development at Global Environmental Summits: An Evolving Agenda
Source: Environment, Development and Sustainability, Volume 5, Numbers 1-2, 2003 , pp. 117-138(22)
This paper presents a framework for understanding energy issues in the context of sustainable development. It posits that there are three important ways in which energy is related to sustainable development: (a) energy as a source of environmental stress, (b) energy as a principal motor of macroeconomic growth and (c) energy as a prerequisite for meeting basic human needs. These three dimensions correspond to the three dimensions of the often-used triangle of sustainable development: environmental, economic, and social. Using this framework, the paper traces how successive environmental summits at Stockholm (1972), Rio de Janeiro (1992) and Johannesburg (2002) have dealt with energy issues. It identifies a slow, surprising and important evolution of how energy issues have been treated at these global discussions. Energy has received increasing prominence at these meetings and become more firmly rooted in the framework of sustainable development. Stockholm was primarily concerned with the environmental dimension, Rio de Janeiro focused on both the environmental and economic dimensions, and the major headway made at Johannesburg was the meaningful addition of the social dimension and the linking of energy issues to the UN's Millennium Development Goals.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: 1: Department of International Relations; Center for Energy and Environmental Studies, Fredrick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future, 152 Bay State Road, Boston University, Boston, MA 02215, USA (author for correspondence, e-mai 2: Department of Geography; Center for Energy and Environmental Studies, Fredrick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future, 152 Bay State Road, Boston University, Boston, MA 02215, USA
Publication date: 2003-01-01