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Energy: key facts and resources


Some facts, organisations, reports and other resources about energy from a global perspective. 

Key facts

The question of ‘energy poverty' is defined by an estimated 2.64 billion people who are denied access to modern fuels for cooking and heating (about 40 percent of the world's population).[1]

Energy deprivation is defined as the inability to access or purchase sufficient energy due to the lack of availability, choice, or the ability to pay for these services.[2]

Around 1.6 billion people live without electricity.[3]

Nearly 2 out of 5 people in developing countries do not have access to modern energy sources, and many of the poorest pay more per unit of energy than the better off due to inefficient technology and corruption.[4]

Poor people in developing countries rely heavily on biomass for their basic energy needs (such as wood, agricultural residues and dung), which leads to 1.4 million deaths each year from respiratory disease linked to breathing in smoky air caused by burning biomass fuels - ranked 8th among all risk factors for global disease and death.[5]

In 2030, based on current projections, over 2.6 billion people in developing countries will continue to rely on biomass for cooking and heating, an effective increase of 240 million.[6]

In 2030, 1.4 billion are estimated to still lack basic electricity.[7]

In 2030, energy consumption is set to grow by almost 60 percent.[8]

Developing countries will potentially consume only about one-fifth as much as OECD countries on a per-capita basis in the next three decades.[9]

While higher oil prices makes news around the world, the developmental energy crisis of far greater human impact remains a side issue in international policy discussions.[10]

Studies have shown that universal energy provision is an achievable goal, costing around US$15 to $20 per person per year to provide sufficient access to modern energy for the poor to meet basic human needs.[11]

The impact of universal energy provision upon climate change would also be negligible; to provide cleaner cooking fuels for 2.4 billion people, for example, would lead to additional greenhouse gas emissions of only 3 percent.[12]

An investment of $20 trillion is needed to meet the world's surging demand for energy over the next two decades, indicating that those at the bottom of the development ladder will inevitably come last in future energy supplies.[13]

At existing trends, China will surpass the United States to become the world's largest energy consumer after 2010. Oil demand for Chinese transportation use will quadruple between 2005 and 2030. The fleet of cars and trucks will rise sevenfold to 270 million vehicles. Figures for India are not far behind. The 2007 report by the International Energy Agency predicted that the "alarming" rise in energy demand will speed up climate change, threaten global energy security and possibly create a supply crunch that will send already high prices soaring.[14]

Further resources


Reports and articles

Further resources


[1] Alejandro Litovsky. Energy Poverty and Political Vision (Open Democracy, 4th September 2007)

[2] Ambuj D. Sagar et al. ‘Climate Change, Energy, and Developing Countries' (Vermont Journal of Environmental Law, Volume 7 2005-2006)

[3] World Energy Outlook 2002 (International Energy Agency, Paris, September 2002)

[4] Ibid.

[5] World Energy Assessment 2004 (United Nations Development Programme et al) p 26.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] World Energy Outlook 2006 (International Energy Agency, Paris, September 2006)

[9] World Energy Outlook 31 (International Energy Agency, Paris, 2004) p 66.

[10] World Energy Outlook 2006 (International Energy Agency, Paris, September 2006)

[11] Energy Services for the Millennium Development Goals (United Nations Development Programme, New York, November 2005)

[12] ‘2.4 mn people suffer from silent crisis of ‘energy poverty': UNDP' (United Nations newswire, May 12th 2006)

[13] World Energy Outlook 2007 (International Energy Agency, Paris, November 2007)

[14] Report from the International Energy Agency, cited by Eric Reguly. Rise in Global Energy Demands 'Alarming,' IAE says (Globe and Mail, Toronto, 8th November 2007). See report at <http://www.worldenergyoutlook.org/2007.asp>

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