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Report on Measuring Energy Access for Sustainable Development Released

7 June 2010: Columbia University's Earth Institute has released a paper titled “Measuring Energy Access: Supporting a Global Target.” The paper was co-authored by various UN agencies, the International Energy Agency (IEA), and the World Bank, among others.

The paper notes that nearly one-third of humanity still lacks access to modern energy, which is considered a critical factor in realizing sustainable development. It suggests establishing an international target for universal access to modern energy, and investigates the practicalities of measuring and reporting on such a target. The authors focus on precedents in the areas of energy and development where measurement tools have proven to be helpful indicators of development progress and have benefited policy makers. They address a number of challenges regarding measuring deficits in energy access but note that, while “absolute measure of energy poverty is elusive… aspects related to this issue can be meaningfully reflected by means of a well designed set of metrics and proxies.” In conclusion, the authors state that tools such as those proposed would be extremely valuable in the movement to raise energy poverty to a higher position on political and development agendas.

This report was published partly in response to a report by the UN Secretary-General's Advisory Group on Energy and Climate Change (AGECC) presented in April 2010. One of the AGECC's key recommendations was the provision of universal access to energy by 2030. [The Report] [Climate Change Policy & Practice Story on the Report of the Secretary-General's Advisory Group on Energy and Climate Change]