Energy agreement a sham: 70,000 reasons why the Summit failed
3rd September 2002, Johannesburg: ITDGPractical Action said the WSSD agreement on access to energy, targets and subsidies is a sham offering little hope of getting clean energy to almost a third of humanity.
Some 70,000 people, mainly children, will have died due to fatal levels of indoor air pollution from cooking fires during the ten days of the summit. The agreement on energy has little chance of reducing this death rate.
The development agency, which has decades of experience running small scale energy programmes in Africa, Asia and Latin America, said as far as energy was concerned the Summit’s Plan of Implementation has two fundamental flaws - there is no plan and nothing to implement.
ITDGPractical Action likened the language of the agreement to a Yes Minister script rather than a binding commitment to get clean sustainable energy to the world’s poorest people.
It roundly condemned the US, Canada, Australia, Japan and the OPEC states for scuppering the chance of the Summit to switch the lights on in the poorest parts of the world.
The tragedy of all this is that getting energy to the world’s poorest people can be done. ITDGPractical Action and Greenpeace have mapped out an action plan detailing how this can be done in their joint report Sustainable Energy for Poverty Reduction. What is lacking is not the funds but the political will to act.
Facts on energy and poverty:
- 1.6 billion people, nearly a third of humanity, have no access to electricity
- 2.4 billion people rely on wood, dung and crop residues for cooking and heating
- 2.5 million people, mainly children, die each year due to the effects of indoor pollution from cooking fire
- Getting low wattage decentralised electricity to 1.6 billion people costs US $9 billion a year for ten years - less than four per cent of the US $250-300 billion annual subsidies for fossil fuels and nuclear generation
For more information contact Ian Bray in Johannesburg on 083 468 8519 or Lucja Wisniewska in the UK on +44 (0)1926 634510