number of governments and private organizations made specific commitments
during the recent Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development
to show their support for renewable energy and energy efficiency.
For instance, a group of nine major electric companies signed agreements
to undertake sustainable energy projects in developing countries.
In addition, the European Union (EU) announced a $700 million partnership
initiative on energy.
For its part, the United States Department of Energy (DOE) committed
to provide $43 million in 2003 for a Clean Energy Initiative, which
will aim to provide millions of people with access to new energy
services, to increase the efficiency of energy use and reduce deaths
from air pollution by changing the way people use energy for transportation
and in their homes. The United States expects to attract an additional
$400 million in investments in the initiative through partnerships
with other governments and organizations.
DOE is contributing to the initiative through its Office of Energy
Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). International projects are
now being conducted by EERE in countries such as the Ukraine, Poland,
Russia, China, India, the Philippines, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Peru
Sustainable development in any country calls for an increased
use of renewable energy and the efficient use of all energy resources,
said Robert G. Card, Under Secretary for Energy, Science and Environment
at the U.S. DOE. The United States has a quarter-century of
experience in developing and using these technologies, working with
our research laboratories, public-private partnerships, states and
non-governmental organizations. We are committed to sharing this
experience with international partners as we work together for a
The U.S. Initiative has three goals:
* Energy Efficiency for Sustainable
Development to reduce waste, save money, improve reliability and
optimize investments in new generating capacity.
* The Global Village Energy
Partnership to bring electricity to the two billion persons in the
world now without it and to another billion who experience frequent
Homes and Communities to promote cleaner transportation fuels and
healthier indoor cooking and heating equipment.
Card also highlighted a number of DOEs international efforts
* The energy efficiency investments
at the Gostomel glass plant in Kiev, Ukraine. DOE supported an energy-saving
audit at the plantone of several audits under a DOE- and USAID-projectwhich
led to an investment of $2.7 million with a payback of three years.
A pilot project in China that is replacing existing motors with
energy-efficient motors and showing a payback period of seven months.
The Collaborative Labeling and Appliance Standards Program (CLASP),
a program seeking the harmonization of international standards and
labels. CLASP is led by the International Institute for Energy Conservation,
the Alliance to Save Energy and DOEs Lawrence Berkeley National
Laboratory. CLASP is active in China, Mexico, India, Brazil, Ghana
Renewable resource assessment and mapping to provide a developing
country with basic information about its unique mix of solar, wind,
biomass, geothermal and other renewable resources. DOE will draw
on its experience with renewable village power projects in Chile,
Russia, China, Mexico, Brazil and other regions.
DOE Clean Cities International which has worked with international
partners to create border coalitions in Tijuana, Juarez and Monterrey,
Mexico; and in Winnipeg and Toronto, Canada. The DOE is creating
coalitions in Mexico City; Lima, Peru; Santiago, Chile; Rio de Janeiro,
Brazil; New Delhi, India; and Manila, the Philippines.
Additionally, the DOE issued a compendium of sustainable energy
and water success stories. The report, Energy and Water for
Sustainable Living: A Compendium of Energy and Water Success Stories,
can be accessed electronically at www.pi.energy.gov//library/ ewsl.html.
The United Nations is also launching a new initiative, called the
Global Network on Energy for Sustainable Development (GNESD). Initially
comprising 10 centers in 10 developed and developing countries,
the GNESD will help promote the research, transfer and deployment
of green and cleaner energy technologies to the developing world.
Speaking at the launch at the World Summit, Klaus Toepfer, executive
director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), said,
The provision of environmentally sound energy services are
integral to poverty alleviation and sustainable development.
Over two billion people in developing countries do not have
access to reliable forms of energy, he continued. Nine
out of 10 Africans have no access to electricity. Providing clean
energy on a sustainable basis is not only vital for fighting environmental
issues like global warming, but for reducing poverty and misery
in Africa and parts of Asia and Latin America.
Access to affordable, modern energy services is increasingly seen
as a pre-requisite for sustainable development and poverty alleviation.
Access to energy is a condition for achieving the UNs Millennium
Development goals including the goal to halve the proportion of
people in poverty by 2015, a major element of the discussions in
For one-third of the worlds population, dependence on traditional
fuels results in many hours spent each day gathering wood, animal
and crop waste. Moreover, limited access to adequate and appropriate
energy, including electricity, means that value-adding, income-generating
activities are constrained.
The consequences for the environment of present energy production
and consumption patterns are also significant. For example, in developing
countries, the widespread use of traditional fuels for indoor cooking
and heating results in serious respiratory diseases and loss of
life related to indoor air pollution, as well as a contribution
to deforestation, particularly in arid and semi-arid areas.
Air pollution in developing countries is one of the four most critical
global environmental problems. Such pollution causes an estimated
two million excess deaths per year, or five percent of the global
burden of disease. At the global level, emissions of greenhouse
gases, which mostly originate from the use of fossil fuels, (presently
80 percent of the worlds primary energy comes from fossil
fuels), will have to be reduced in order to combat global warming.
Solving the climate change challenge means reducing global dependence
on fossil fuels.
The new Global Network on Energy for Sustainable Development (GNESD),
hopes to achieve its goals by strengthening collaboration between
existing centers of excellence that work on energy,
development and environment issues. And, through these centers,
influence sustainable energy policies, strategies and programs.
The underlying rationale of the network is that it increases
the capacity of developing country research institutions to look
at energy for sustainable development issues, says Mark Radka,
head of UNEPs Energy Unit. Furthermore, it creates a
shared research and information base on policy and technical guidance,
advice and information. Critically, the network will help all partners
to develop and apply policies suitable to the needs and constraints
of developing countries, thus supporting the use of energy as an
instrument for poverty alleviation and sustainable development,
Promising advances in energy-related technology hold a great potential
for sustainable development, particularly regarding renewable energy
and energy efficiency. A number of technology options (energy from
wind, new biomass, solar, geothermal sources) have been
advanced to a state of technical reliability, and technological
developments continue to reduce costs. The challenge remains to
introduce or scale up the application of sustainable energy services.
Similarly, policy and regulatory challenges remain if these are
to become commercially viable options and able to compete with conventional
and environmentally harmful energy options that typically benefit
from favorable pricing conditions and perverse policy incentives.
Technological solutions to energy problems are available today.
We now need the political will and action to implement them,
UNEPs Toepfer said.
The choices humankind makes on energy in the next decade will
largely determine the history of the 21st century and, in particular,
whether we are able to put ourselves securely on the path to sustainable
development, he said.
The GNESD announcement followed the release on August 30th of a
report detailing how NGOs can work together with entrepreneurs to
jump-start clean energy enterprises in developing countries. Released
jointly by the UN Foundation and UNEP, it details how an innovative
approach is bringing affordable, clean and efficient energy technology
to the rural communities in Africa, Brazil and China as a basis
for long-term, sustainable development.
Open for Business: Entrepreneurs, Clean Energy and Sustainable
Development details the findings of the $8.6 million partnership
between the UN Foundation and UNEP. Their partnership with U.S.
non-profit clean energy investor E+Co and a number of local NGOs
called the Rural Energy Enterprise Development initiative (REED)
combines small amounts of start-up capital with extensive enterprise
development services to help new entrepreneurs create clean energy
enterprises in Brazil, China and five African countries. In Africa,
these new enterprises are offering energy efficient cook stoves,
windpump repair services, the supply and service of solar home systems
and energy efficiency services.
The UN Foundation and UNEP have invested considerable resources
in this effort because we believe that new and innovative approaches
such as REED are needed to simultaneously address the multitude
of development and environment challenges facing many of the worlds
poorest countries, said Timothy E. Wirth, president of the
Many of the worlds poorest communities still rely on traditional
forms of energy, mostly wood fuels, dung and crop wastes. These
energy resources are often expensive, inefficient, and damaging
to the health of humans and the environment. The resulting pollution
is estimated to cost $150 to $750 billion per year globally.
The economic burden of this pollution is staggering,
notes Toepfer. We believe that it is the cause of four to
five percent of the global burden of disease and is one of the leading
causes of childhood and infant mortality.
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