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Looking ahead: energy, climate change and pro-poor responses

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PurposeIn the absence of new policies, global trends in energy supply and consumption are unsustainable all around. Today, roughly 2.6 billion people use fuelwood, charcoal, agricultural waste and animal dung to meet most of their daily energy needs for cooking and heating. There are 1.6 billion people in the world without electricity, equal to over a quarter of the world population. The purpose of this paper is to present pro-poor solutions for addressing the crippling impacts of current global energy use on the world's poorest people. Design/methodology/approachThe paper lays out scenarios for global energy demand and greenhouse-gas emissions and highlights the impact of these trends on developing countries. Based largely on publications and research from the International Energy Agency, it shows that better targeted subsidies, capacity building, integrated policy approaches and improvements in data collection can help to alleviate the impacts of current energy use on health and the environment. FindingsDecisive action is needed to expand energy access and to arrest the potential impacts of climate change in poor countries. It is demonstrated here that investments in programs that are tailored to promoting development and addressing climate change simultaneously can be successfully deployed. Originality/valueThere is an urgent need for policymakers in rich and poor countries to join together and tackle the global energy and climate challenges, and, as this paper shows, pro-poor foresight is needed to ensure that these challenges are met in an equitable and sustainable way.

Keywords: Climatology; Developing countries; Energy; Energy consumption; Poverty

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: July 17, 2009


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