News

IEA Expert Discusses Energy Poverty

1 March 2011: The International Energy Agency (IEA) has published a short piece titled “Energy Poverty: The Missing Millennium Development Goal (MDG)?” which discusses the social and environmental consequences of energy poverty, and the urgency to achieve universal energy access.

The piece emphasizes that the 20% of the world's population without access to electricity faces “severe and life-changing disadvantages every day,” highlighting negative effects on education and health. Noting the recent announcement by the UN General Assembly (UNGA) that 2012 will be the "International Year of Sustainable Energy for All," IEA's chief economist Fatih Birol calls for urgent action to make adequate funding available to secure universal energy access. The piece rejects criticisms that universal energy access would lead to dramatic increases in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, arguing that increases would amount to less than 1%, and that the socioeconomic advantages of increased access far outweigh any drawbacks.  [Publication: Energy Poverty: The Missing Millennium Development Goal?]