The double challenge. Understanding the Challenge: Energy, climate change and development
In support of a ‘Green Energy Revolution’ to simultaneously tackle the right to development and the climate crisis
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Energy use is responsible for some ! » percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, and emissions from energy use are rising faster than other emissions. But unless billions of poor people get better access to energy, they will have no prospects for development. If this development dimension of energy is ignored, there can be no global agreement on how to tackle the climate challenge.
Unequal access to energy
The last 200 years of development and human progress have been inextricably linked to increasing use of energy. Worldwide energy use multiplied 30 times between the years 1800 and 2000; over the same period, GDP multiplied by a factor of 100. But in spite of this economic growth, two billion people are still locked into poverty (surviving on less than 2 dollars per day).
Just like the benefits of economic growth, the access to and the use of energy is extremely unequally distributed. The total primary energy consumption, measured in kWh per capita per day, of the average person in the United States is almost fifty times that of Bangladesh, and fifteen times that of Tanzania. The gap in electricity use is even more striking: the per capita electricity use in the United States is nearly a
hundred times larger than in Bangladesh, and over two hundred times larger than in Tanzania.