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Julie Larsen
on Wed, January 16, 2013 at 04.14 pm
to

Energy Online Consultation: Discussion I [CLOSED]

Details:

Welcome to the thematic energy dialogue! As indicated on the main page of the energy consultation, the first phase of the dialogue, from now until February 3, will explore why energy matters to the post-2015 development agenda, the challenges and opportunities that exist, as well as what we can do about it.

The main purpose of this consultation is to stimulate discussions and facilitate global conversations on a broad post-2015 energy agenda.  In many ways, this global conversation about energy and sustainable development is well underway. The last five years have seen an increasing interest in energy, due in part to the General Assembly’s declaration of 2012 as the International Year of Sustainable Energy and the initiative of the Secretary-General on Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL). The importance of energy was also recognized by governments at the Rio+20 Conference in June 2012. Most recently, the Assembly proclaimed 2014-2024 as the Decade of Sustainable Energy for All. This consultation is poised to build upon this progress.

If you have not already done so, you are invited to review the framing paper for this energy consultation. It provides a useful overview of energy issues and outlines key challenges and opportunities. Main focus topics include universal access to energy services, increased use of renewable energy, better energy efficiency and an exploration of the energy-sustainable development nexus.  It also discusses roles of stakeholders and individuals in addressing these issues.

To help guide consultation processes, we have focused on presenting questions that will help capture, summarize and present global voices in a way useful for the post-2015 discussions in the United Nations and elsewhere. Specifically, during Phase 1 of the on-line consultations, we would like to focus on the following questions:

  • Do you think energy should be fully integrated in the post-2015 framework? If so, why?
  • What are the priority energy issues that we must address as part of the post-2015?
  • How do we effectively link energy issues to other related development issues, such as poverty reduction, food security, gender and climate change?
  • What specific roles should key stakeholders have?

 

You can also find additional questions in the framing paper, which we encourage you to address.

Advancing the global development agenda post-2015 urgently calls for robust international cooperation and action that is ambitious, urgent and effective. Please share your views and experiences from current initiatives, programmes and projects on energy and bring out examples of success and suggestions for improvements. Tell us about your vision and your position on priority setting and choosing among policies to support the way forward.

I remind you that we are joined by expert moderators: Leena Srivastava, Executive Director of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), Nebojsa Nakicenovic of the Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), and Richenda Van Leeuwen of  the United Nations Foundation.  More information on their background is available here. They will add their insights over the course of our discussions.

As the facilitator for the dialogue, I will address any questions related to logistics around the consultation, and requests for technical assistance. I will also occasionally post summary points and additional questions, as needed, to enhance our discussion.

Here’s to a rich and insightful dialogue!

Kind regards,

Julie Larsen (dialogue facilitator)

Visibility: 
Public
Luc Severi from
Thu, February 21, 2013 at 04.57 pm

What are the links between health and energy access, energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources?

In rural areas, the dependency on generators (and thus on fuel) is still extremely high in the health sector. A generator breakdown means waiting for new fuel and waiting for repair, as advanced technical skills are often limited in rural settings. Meanwhile, patients find the facility closed from dusk till dawn, or have no other option but to be treated by candlelight.

Access to energy in the health sector will lead to an increased access to quality health care, and for off-grid health facilities, sustainable energy sources are the way forward. As energy needs are relatively low (light, communications, cold chain), sustainable energy technologies can efficiently and effectively solve the question, to which generators have to date been a problematic answer.

Health linkages play a part across the board, and are clearly intertwined with most (if not all) other sectors. In the health sector in particular, sustainable energy sources can have a massive impact. Solar vaccine fridges, light at night, energy for communications through HF radio, … all make for a stronger health sector, and a higher quality of health care.

 

What health indicators of improved energy efficiency and reliance on renewable energy sources might you suggest? Can and should a sustainable energy development goal have related health indicators?   Should these indicators relate to specific sectors? e.g. reduced household energy air pollution and deaths; increased physical activity and less pedestrian/cycle traffic injuries due to greater urban investment in safer walking and cycling infrastructures.

The impact in the health sector of sustainable energy is both quantitative and qualitative. Having energy at a facility, means that patients can be treated when previously they found the facility in the dark and the doors locked. The number of patients treated, in particular during the night, is expected to go up, and can thus serve as an indicator to measure the impact of energy in the health sector. However, energy at a facility is necessary but not sufficient: if there is no medical staff present, or if there are no safe access roads available, patients will not find the facility. Similarly, if a solar vaccine fridge (and vaccines!) is available at the facility, patients still need to be convinced to visit the facility to immunise themselves or their infants. Measuring impact without taking into account these other conditions which need to be fulfilled, paints half a picture at best.

The impact of sustainable energy in the health sector is also qualitative in nature. Whereas deliveries and emergency procedures are carried out by candle light or cell phone flash light, having light at the facility will allow for a much higher quality of health care. Qualitative indicators and anecdotal evidence, whilst seen as less valuable than dry quantitative data, should not be ignored.

 

What stakeholders can be targeted for stronger health and energy interactions?

To create a stronger health-energy nexus, the prime stakeholders are the respective government agencies. Off-grid health facilities, whether public or private, need to be involved as well, including the medical staff working at these facilities. So should the NGOs (medical, emergency, religious-based, …), as they play supporting roles in e.g. drug management and technical expertise.

Finally, the community around the facility plays a key role. They need to use the facility (e.g. at night); they need to see the value to an increased ‘access to health care’ through ‘access to energy’.

 

About Merlin’s Energy Project

Merlin – Medical Emergency Relief International – is currently implementing an energy project in Liberia, targeting 205 primary health care facilities. The project will allow for night time operation of the facilities, as well as increased referrals through HF radio.

 

Luc Severi

Technical Programme Coordinator

energyman@merlin-liberia.org

MERLIN - Liberia

Ivan Ivanov from
Mon, February 18, 2013 at 04.23 pm

In addition to benefits for children's health universal access to energy may have also benefits for improving the health of economically active populations (workers). For example, reducing the time women spend collecting biomass fuels associated with carrying heavy fuelwood loads over long distances, cuts, falls, animal bites, back injuries, and sexual harassment. An excessive workload may adversely affect the health and well-being of pregnant women. Therefore, promoting novel energy technologies as alternatives to biomass fuels can reduce women's workloads.


Also, avoiding the adverse health effects also arise from prolonged exposure to open fires within the home or workplace. Women thus require access to efficient and labor-saving appliances to meet household energy needs such as cooking, lighting, and warmth. Improved energy access can also free women's time from satisfying basic survival needs so that they may pursue employment activities, economic independence, and improved social standing.


Finally, women use electricity differently from men on account of different household and productive activities. Electricity use by women tends to be heat intensive (for food processing), labor intensive, and/or light intensive. For example, pumps reduce the labor required to collect water. Electrifying rice mills and other grain, oil, and food processing facilities eliminates exhausting or repetitive manual labor and increases the productivity of agricultural processing. Workplace lighting offers improves the prevention of injuries, electricity offers opportunity for mechanization of loads handling, machines, and ventillation. In general electricity would be expected to expand income-generating opportunities for developing micro-enterprises (for example, leather and goods manufacturing, copper welding, utensils manufacturing, and baking) and access to safer and healthier job, provided that there are occupational health and safety measures in place to ensure that the new workplaces will be decent.


However, we should bear in mind that energy systems involve a large number of workers, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, and entail significant occupational health problems. Most occupational health and safety issues during the construction, operation, maintenance, and decommissioning of electric power distribution projects are common to those of large industrial facilities. These impacts include, among others, exposure to physical hazards from use of heavy equipment and cranes; trip and fall hazards; exposure to dust and noise; falling objects; work in confined spaces; exposure to hazardous materials; and exposure to electrical hazards from the use of tools and machinery. The conventional practices for healthy workplaces, i.e. improving work environment, work organization, promoting health while protecting the environment can be also applied to power transmission enterprises. 


The health impacts of the new technologies for energy production is a whole new issue - there are a number of healrth benefits but also impacts of the different renewable energy technologies. WHO summarized them in the publication "Health in the Green Economy: Occupatiional Health" available at  http://www.who.int/entity/hia/green_economy/hgebrief_occ.pdf



Occupational health and safety hazards specific to electric power transmission and distribution projects primarily include: live power lines, working at height, electric and magnetic fields, exposure to chemicals (e.g. PCB is transformers), shift work.  Electricity infrastructure, distribution and connectivity has higher risks of ‘flashover’ burns, falls and electrocution during installation, connection and maintenance of new power sources. Higher levels of local and domestic energy generation are likely to increase the hazards and risks to which householders are exposed.

Scott Hook from
Sun, February 17, 2013 at 05.01 am


Can I add view from the Pacific, in terms of the questions



  • Do you think energy should be fully integrated in the post-2015 framework? If so, why?


I agree that energy has to be integrated into the post-2015 framework, access and use of energy underlines the ability of people in the Pacific to be able to seek the necessary sources of energy that will power their future economic growth and development. At the same time, access to energy provides vital social improvements to people on remote islands.



  • What are the priority energy issues that we must address as part of the post-2015?


The Pacific has a regional energy policy called "Towards an energy secure Pacific: A Framework for Action on Energy Security in the Pacific". The key themes that are identified as priorities for the Pacific include Leadership, governance, coordination and partnerships; Capacity development, planning, policy and regulatory frameworks; Energy production and supply (both petroleum and renewables); Energy conversion; End-use energy consumption, Energy data and information; and Financing, monitoring and evaluation. The document is attached.



  • How do we effectively link energy issues to other related development issues, such as poverty reduction, food security, gender and climate change?


The quality of all infrastructure is the basis of social and economic development, improved governance and underline basic health and education. The efficient and effectiveness of energy infrastructure operations play a direct role in the ability of Pacific Island Countries to be able to alleviate poverty, improve food security, improve gender outcomes and address climate change.



  • What specific roles should key stakeholders have?


Stakeholders in the Pacific are included in the Pacific Energy Alliance that includes public and private sectors and Non-State Actors. At a practical level the Pacific countries are involved in regular regional consultations as part of regional and international meetings. These various stakeholders are able to bring the insights and experiences from energy policy, project development, donor effectiveness and sustainable project delivery.


Leena Srivastava from
Tue, February 12, 2013 at 04.46 am

 


Dear contributors,

Thank you for your insightful comments. Having reviewed the discussion thus far, let me add the following considerations, particularly around the topic of energy access:

• Education, health, livelihood and environment is expected to have a prominent place in the post 2015 development agenda- the succesor to MDGs. Afforable and modern energy access in a necessity to achieve progress in all these four thematic areas that can significantly influence (trigger or slow down) development outcomes.For example, health centres with limited/ intermittent power supply cannot provide desired service level related to maternal care/ vaccination. Hence, integration of energy as a cross-cutting theme in the post-2015 framework is not really a matter of choice. The debate instead should focus on the priority energy issues and mechanisms which are more effective in tackling them.

• In terms of priority issues for the post-2015 agenda, let us segregate the issues in two broad categories- service and source. The source issue deals with role of renewables and energy efficiency measures to make energy provision environment friendly and more cost-effective. Regarding service, the target population should be considered as consumers instead of beneficiaries to whom choice (bouquet of technology options) should be offered. Let them choose whether centralized grid with intermittent/unreliable power supply is more preferable than limited but more reliable decentralized power service. Viability gap funding for energy access should not be technology linked but performance/ service linked. For example, all lighting technologies should be part of performance bands and products of highest performance band (say, Platinum) will be eligible for more financial support than lower bands (say, gold and silver).

Two suggestions to effectively link up energy with other developmental goals:

A. Clearly map and document the specific role of energy in development agenda for other thematic areas. It will establish the criticality of energy to achieve the development goal for relevant stakeholders. For example, children who get cooked food during lunch from school are less likely to drop out (Indian Mid day meal scheme experience). Hence, education agenda may include provision of community scale cooking technology at schools.

B. Planning and resource allocation for all development activities should have an energy component. For example, activities towards reduction of black carbon from atmosphere to mitigate climate change should have a separate and dedicated fund for deployment of clean cookstoves as traditional mud cookstoves/ three stone fires significantly contribute to black carbon.

In terms of the role of various stakeholders: There is a need to get bottom up view point from grassroots institutions, academic community and other civil society organizations on which energy technologies/ services can further the agenda for any specific development goal like environment. Governments need to come up with innovative schemes to incentivize and facilitate entry of financial institutions and private industry for energy access service provision.

Thank you and I look forward to the next stage of discussions,

Leena Srivastava
Moderator for the Energy Online Consultation
Executive Director, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI)


 

Nebojsa Nakicenovic from
Mon, February 11, 2013 at 08.41 pm

Meeting the global energy challenges of the 21st century requires the strong participations of all stakeholders. This dialogue will be valuable in shaping our vision for a sustainable future and catalyzing the action which is needed to get there. Thanks to all of you who have commented and participated in the discussion so far. Your contributions and insights are greatly appreciated and have been interesting to read.

One of salient themes in this ongoing dialogue is that energy access is a prerequisite for human development. At the same time, several commentators have pointed out that achieving universal access will only be possible through focusing on rural areas and utilizing decentralized energy systems. But I would go even further. The discussion on energy access for all has been very detailed and thorough; however, energy access is but one aspect of transforming the world’s energy systems.  Energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy have not been discussed very thoroughly. 

I think we can all agree that energy is critical for human development and should thus be integrated explicitly in the post-2015 agenda as an explicit development goal.  Ensuring universal access to modern energy services is essential for social development and is a problem both of development and governance. By integrating improved energy efficiency and renewables into the sustainable energy for all agenda, we provide a framework in which developing countries can ‘leapfrog,’ by providing access to energy that is sustainable, efficient, secure and affordable, without the polluting development trajectory of the industrialized countries. Furthermore, leapfrogging by the developing countries galvanizes the industrialized countries to transform their own patterns of energy supply and use.  After all, sustainable development applies to everyone.

Energy efficiency improvements and energy access essentially go hand in hand. Ensuring access to modern forms of energy and appliances would increase energy efficiency four to five fold, and would bring with it additional benefits such as reduced indoor air pollution through cleaner cook-stoves. This is an essential gender issue as mostly women and children suffer from indoor air pollution. Efficiency improvements are some of the most cost-effective and near-term options to effectively transform the energy system. A reduction in energy demand can be accomplished partly through technical efficiency improvements, but also through structural changes by shifting the way people use energy. This applies to all sectors, electricity, transport, industry and buildings, and allows for a higher flexibility for the energy supply mix.

Greater use of renewable energy will require the development of both on-grid and off-grid systems. Renewable technologies are becoming more cost-effective and economically competitive with fossil fuels. Investing in local renewable technologies can create jobs and foster further economic development, and especially improve energy security for countries which lack domestic fossil fuels reserves, protecting them from fuel price volatility. Substituting electricity for liquid and solid fuels in all sectors reduces greenhouse gas emissions and local pollution.

Doubling the share of renewable energy (from about 15% today to 30% by 2030) and the rate of energy efficiency improvements would reduce energy demand by roughly 30% and GHG emissions by 60% compared to business-as-usual, both effectively contributing to a decarbonization of the energy system, putting us on a path consistent with avoiding catastrophic climate change.

Energy systems differ between regions, between major economies, and between developing and industrial countries. Approaches to the necessary transitions to create energy systems for a sustainable future therefore vary, and policies that work successfully in one region may fail in another.  Thus, policies cannot be prescriptive, but rather they need to work from the bottom-up, as a participatory process.

Energy-focused policies must be coordinated and integrated with policies addressing socioeconomic development and environmental protection in other sectors. Effective policy portfolios will require a combination of instruments, including regulatory frameworks and investment policies, as well as measures for strengthening capacity development, which stimulate innovation. This requires strong commitments from the public, private and civil service sectors. 

Thank you once again for your comments and I look forward to the discussions to follow. Finally, I would like to thank Julie Larsen for her diligence in leading and guiding the discussion.

Anonymous from
Tue, February 12, 2013 at 07.22 am

There are so many fantastic comments here and it highlights how many people are working towards a sustainable solution.

I think the question is no question at all - I understand why we need to go through this process there is no doubt -  never was that renewable energy needs to be implemented and included in this and any other important documents going forward.

What I would really like to see is an action plan, it is very frustrating that people wish to do more research and that so much time is spent on activities which do not result in actually putting out more renewable energy.

It would be nice to use this forum as a chance for members to connect and look at ways to plan activities together, that involve actually putting technologies in the hands of people that need it, looking at financial models - all of which will then drive policy - rather than waiting for actions from policy makers

Anyone interested in taking concrete action during the course of this year - please inbox me.

Our focus is South and southern Africa - but it always helps to be part of a global community. 

All activists are welcome

Thank you

 

 

 

Anonymous from
Mon, February 11, 2013 at 01.19 am

In my opinion



We need to replace the fossil fuel power plants, the primary source of GHG. Now!

At a scale required to accomplish this task :

Ethanol starves people : not a viable option.

Fracking releases methane : not a viable option.

Cellulose Bio Fuel Uses Food Land : not a viable option

Solar uses food land : Not a viable option

Wind is Intermittent : Not a viable option



All Human and Agricultural Organic Waste can be converted to hydrogen, through exposure intense radiation!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/DennisearlBaker/2012-a-breakthrough-for-r_b_1263543_135881292.html

The Radioactive Materials exist now, and the Organic waste is renewable daily.

Ending the practice of dumping sewage into our water sources.

Air, Water, Food and Energy issues, receive significant positive impacts .

Reducing illness / health care costs as well !



Dennis Baker
106 998 Creston Avenue
Penticton BC V2A1P9
cell phone 250-462-3796 
Phone / Fax 778-476-2633

Sergio Braga from
Fri, February 15, 2013 at 07.44 pm

não entendo o motivo de considerar a agroenergia como inviável... uso da terra?? o problema da fome no mundo nunca foi falta de terra arável, e as culturas num ambiente de mercado estão sujeitas às flutuações de preço, o problema da fome se combate com distribuição de renda, e agroenergia é uma fonte viável ao meu ver. no entanto a ferramenta deve ser substituída em casos como o etanol, o maior problema desse combustível está no motor a combustão, não podemos continuar a usar motores de eficiÊncia de 40%. 

Anonymous from
Fri, February 8, 2013 at 08.08 pm

In the Vanishing Face of Gaia, James Lovelock introduced an interesting thought I would like to share with the reader to emphasize how energy matters in today’s life:[1]Have you ever thought what would happen to a major city if there were no electricity for a week? This is what could happen (… ) if we put faith in environmentally friendly energy to run our lives .. Sustaining a city requires constant and reliable supplies of energy.” 

While meditating on this statement on energy sources, I checked up on internet how looks the world map lights at night and found this image [2]: http://aidwatchers.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Lights-at-night.png. There started my reflection on how energy is a key factor in defining the quality of life we want. How do people without energy live? Is this a symbol of separation between the poor and rich societies?

I would like to contribute to this debate through three aspects of community life and analyze how energy access is a very important paradigm: poverty reduction, food security and climate change. For each of them, I will start with a story to illustrate my point and will close the section by forecasting the way towards the post 2015 agenda.

 

Poverty Reduction

After the Second World War, the World Bank was created with a specific mission of reconstruction and development to correct the “retreat of trade, capital flows and migration during the period 1914-1945[3]. If we look back in the mirror after more than six decades of World Bank existence and all the other organizations invented in order to bring “power to more people” and help them to improve their lives[4], the current picture is not what we would expect given the resources and political endorsement of this United Nations Agency and its affiliated Institutions.  

The current situation is painted by Mr Ocampo view on rebalancing world economy[5]: “ The economic crisis will continue to weaken commitments to the ideals of the welfare state (think about what happened/ still happening in the Arab world and Europe economies, the wars in Africa and Latin America around natural resources), and the ranks of have-nots in the developed world may thus increase… The global crisis is already reducing developed countries’ financial assistance to developing nations. More importantly this is affecting countries in varied ways, deepening the diversity among them”.

What can we do about this? The way forward I would like to suggest is wider than the energy debate. But in the end, it will benefit in first place the energy sector. It is made of steps towards social justice as I found them in Wayne Visser’s publication on “Landmarks for Sustainability[6]:

-       The efforts of tackling poverty and development have to address cause, not symptoms. Based on this, the world need practical advocacy initiatives, like this campaign, to provide long-term solutions approach

-       The Human Development Indicators are often misleading the multinational institutions in their efforts to close the gap between the richest and the poorest. UNDP for example will have to adapt the criteria to guide the global investment in order to bring a long and healthy life, education and decent standard of life.

-       The Millennium Development Goals served as focal point for development efforts by governments. However, in order to go over this cliff, there is a necessity to convert this approach into a private sector business model to address poverty.

 

Food security

This chance may not be repeated… it will be lost and we shall have condemned our coming generations to everlasting poverty and underdevelopment[7]. The key factor here is that there is competition everywhere for food and energy sources. Knowing that there is no “world government” this debate has to define the balance between the needs of “have and have-nots”. In other words, the question comes to which actions need to be done cooperatively and how might this happen to give each stakeholders the minimum supply for their current needs and the needs of future generations.

As matter of facts, more than 50% of the world population live in cities, this number jumps to 90% in developed countries[8]. This would be great news for food production, if the lands were fertile and the water levels enough to sustain the food supply. Unfortunately, “though food supplies have more than kept pace with rising population levels in the past, a combination of biofuels, rising standards of living and climate change, including floods and drought, are stressing agricultural production and leading to significant increases in food prices.[9] We need more researchers able to look into how to innovate in sources of energy without hurting the food production chain; and of course, for the short term, to mobilize more aid in order to avoid malnutrition and lack of meals for populations. 

 

Climate Change

“We want to enjoy the products of industry and also enjoy the natural environment but ignore the unfortunate consequences of our invisible and insensible emission of greenhouse gases”[10]. No doubt, there is necessity to take advantage of this framework and discuss what kind of leadership we need in order to change the mentalities and what could be the priorities within each country accepting to be part of this initiative.

The coordination would be located at multiple levels and in the end, we want the efforts to help everyone, specially those who don’t have access to energy. Despite the disagreements we have seen on Climate Change theme, proper leadership, cooperation on policies, would be an enabler to reestablish the focus on the strategies able to take the world beyond Millennium Development Goals and encourage everybody, specially the poorest, to redefine their development problems and achieve the growth and access to energy we want.

In conclusion, I would say that Access to energy is a prerequisite to building trust in communities. It will remain a crisscross theme. What we need is a strong leadership able to define solutions that are affordable, accessible and available to all the stakeholders.



[1] Lovelock, J., The Vanishing Face of Gaia A final Warning, Basic Books, New York, 2009, p.137

[2] The developed world has lights and the underdeveloped world is in darkness: http://aidwatchers.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Lights-at-night.png.

[3] Collier, P.,  The Bottom Billion Why the poorest countries are failing and can be done about it, Oxford University Press, New York 2007, p. 81

[5] Ocampo, J., “Rebalancing a World of Haves abd Have-Nots”, in The New Yprk Times, 2013 Turning Points, pp. 14-16.

[6] Wayne Visser, Landmarks for Sustainability, events and initiatives that have changed our world, University of Cambridge, Greenleaf Publishing, 2009, pp. 56- 62

[7] Linda McQuaig, It’s Crude Dude, Big Oil and The fight for the planet, Doubleday Canada, Toronto 2004, p.234

[8] Lovelock, J.,  The Vanishing Face of Gaia A final Warning, Basic Books, New York, 2009,  p. 134

[9] The World after 2020 - Mbendi Outlook 2013, retrieved at http://www.robertsstewart.ch/?p=216

[10] Lovelock, J.,  The Vanishing Face of Gaia A final Warning, Basic Books, New York, 2009,  p. 114

Anonymous from
Fri, February 8, 2013 at 08.03 pm

In the Vanishing Face of Gaia, James Lovelock introduced an interesting thought I would like to share with the reader to emphasize how energy matters in today’s life:[1]Have you ever thought what would happen to a major city if there were no electricity for a week? This is what could happen (… ) if we put faith in environmentally friendly energy to run our lives .. Sustaining a city requires constant and reliable supplies of energy.” 

While meditating on this statement on energy sources, I checked up on internet how looks the world map lights at night and found this image [2]: http://aidwatchers.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Lights-at-night.png. There started my reflection on how energy is a key factor in defining the quality of life we want. How do people without energy live? Is this a symbol of separation between the poor and rich societies?

I would like to contribute to this debate through three aspects of community life and analyze how energy access is a very important paradigm: poverty reduction, food security and climate change. For each of them, I will start with a story to illustrate my point and will close the section by forecasting the way towards the post 2015 agenda.

Poverty Reduction

After the Second World War, the World Bank was created with a specific mission of reconstruction and development to correct the “retreat of trade, capital flows and migration during the period 1914-1945[3]. If we look back in the mirror after more than six decades of World Bank existence and all the other organizations invented in order to bring “power to more people” and help them to improve their lives[4], the current picture is not what we would expect given the resources and political endorsement of this United Nations Agency and its affiliated Institutions.   

The current situation is painted by Mr Ocampo view on rebalancing world economy[5]: “ The economic crisis will continue to weaken commitments to the ideals of the welfare state (think about what happened/ still happening in the Arab world and Europe economies, the wars in Africa and Latin America around natural resources), and the ranks of have-nots in the developed world may thus increase… The global crisis is already reducing developed countries’ financial assistance to developing nations. More importantly this is affecting countries in varied ways, deepening the diversity among them”.

What can we do about this? The way forward I would like to suggest is wider than the energy debate. But in the end, it will benefit in first place the energy sector. It is made of steps towards social justice as I found them in Wayne Visser’s publication on “Landmarks for Sustainability[6]:

-       The efforts of tackling poverty and development have to address cause, not symptoms. Based on this, the world need practical advocacy initiatives, like this campaign, to provide long-term solutions approach

-       The Human Development Indicators are often misleading the multinational institutions in their efforts to close the gap between the richest and the poorest. UNDP for example will have to adapt the criteria to guide the global investment in order to bring a long and healthy life, education and decent standard of life.

-       The Millennium Development Goals served as focal point for development efforts by governments. However, in order to go over this cliff, there is a necessity to convert this approach into a private sector business model to address poverty.

Food security

This chance may not be repeated… it will be lost and we shall have condemned our coming generations to everlasting poverty and underdevelopment[7]. The key factor here is that there is competition everywhere for food and energy sources. Knowing that there is no “world government” this debate has to define the balance between the needs of “have and have-nots”. In other words, the question comes to which actions need to be done cooperatively and how might this happen to give each stakeholders the minimum supply for their current needs and the needs of future generations.

As matter of facts, more than 50% of the world population live in cities, this number jumps to 90% in developed countries[8]. This would be great news for food production, if the lands were fertile and the water levels enough to sustain the food supply. Unfortunately, “though food supplies have more than kept pace with rising population levels in the past, a combination of biofuels, rising standards of living and climate change, including floods and drought, are stressing agricultural production and leading to significant increases in food prices.[9] We need more researchers able to look into how to innovate in sources of energy without hurting the food production chain; and of course, for the short term, to mobilize more aid in order to avoid malnutrition and lack of meals for populations. 

Climate Change

“We want to enjoy the products of industry and also enjoy the natural environment but ignore the unfortunate consequences of our invisible and insensible emission of greenhouse gases”[10]. No doubt, there is necessity to take advantage of this framework and discuss what kind of leadership we need in order to change the mentalities and what could be the priorities within each country accepting to be part of this initiative.

The coordination would be located at multiple levels and in the end, we want the efforts to help everyone, specially those who don’t have access to energy. Despite the disagreements we have seen on Climate Change theme, proper leadership, cooperation on policies, would be an enabler to reestablish the focus on the strategies able to take the world beyond Millennium Development Goals and encourage everybody, specially the poorest, to redefine their development problems and achieve the growth and access to energy we want.

In conclusion, I would say that Access to energy is a prerequisite to building trust in communities. It will remain a crisscross theme. What we need is a strong leadership able to define solutions that are affordable, accessible and available to all the stakeholders.



[1] Lovelock, J., The Vanishing Face of Gaia A final Warning, Basic Books, New York, 2009, p.137

[2] The developed world has lights and the underdeveloped world is in darkness: http://aidwatchers.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Lights-at-night.png.

[3] Collier, P.,  The Bottom Billion Why the poorest countries are failing and can be done about it, Oxford University Press, New York 2007, p. 81

[5] Ocampo, J., “Rebalancing a World of Haves abd Have-Nots”, in The New Yprk Times, 2013 Turning Points, pp. 14-16.

[6] Wayne Visser, Landmarks for Sustainability, events and initiatives that have changed our world, University of Cambridge, Greenleaf Publishing, 2009, pp. 56- 62

[7] Linda McQuaig, It’s Crude Dude, Big Oil and The fight for the planet, Doubleday Canada, Toronto 2004, p.234

[8] Lovelock, J., The Vanishing Face of Gaia A final Warning, Basic Books, New York, 2009,  p. 134

[9] The World after 2020 - Mbendi Outlook 2013, retrieved at http://www.robertsstewart.ch/?p=216

[10] Lovelock, J., The Vanishing Face of Gaia A final Warning, Basic Books, New York, 2009,  p. 114

Anonymous from
Thu, February 7, 2013 at 11.40 am

Focus on off-grid energy for BOP communities:
http://www.facebook.com/groups/TEA.ethiopia/

Anonymous from
Thu, February 7, 2013 at 11.36 am

The solutions, even for our off-grid energy problems, are in our hands (technology, modest individual capital). The reality of the wide mobile phones dissemination also in rural Africa is a blindingly obvious example. Here, capital, affordability and distribution problems are no excuses. No longer.
The market has solved them well, all. Same could and should happen with solar lanterns and home systems, if those responsible (Governments and their development partners) could only enable the market to work conveniently. It is indeed a shame that - today - hundreds of millions of rural people with (using) mobile phones are left to using primitive kerosene lamps for lighting, and primitive inefficient cooking stoves. Are we serious enough ?

Kishan Khoday from
Wed, February 6, 2013 at 12.17 pm

Dear Julie and Colleagues,


Just as aspects of food security and water security have been central the MDG framework, so to must energy security emerge as a key element of the post-2015 framework. As noted in the framing paper for the discussion, energy plays a pivotal role in achieving and sustaining   various development results. In implementing the global Sustainable Energy for All framework and the post-2015 platform to come, progress will very much be defined by regional and national challenges and opportunities. In this regard, I wanted to share a few reflections on the relevance of an emerging post-2015 energy focus for the goal of transformational change in the Arab region.


 


In many ways the Arab region provides an interesting case study for the three questions posed - why energy matters, what are the challenges/opportunities, and what can we do about it?


 


1) Why Energy Matters?


 


Issues of resource security have been a defining feature of the nature of development challenges in the Arab region for decades, with energy playing a particularly critical factor. Energy continues today to make up about 40% of the region’s GDP, with the region hosting over 60% of the world’s conventional energy reserves. Meanwhile, the Arab region has high levels of energy subsidies, with serious economic, social and environmental trade-offs (http://www.arabclimateinitiative.org/knowledge/background/Energy%20Subsidies-Bassam%20Fattouh-Final.pdf).


 


The central role of energy for inclusive and sustainable human development was a key focus at the recent 3rd Arab League Development Summit, hosted in Saudi Arabia in January 2013, the first such summit since the onset of major transformations across the region. Sustainable energy featured highly, as one of four key areas in focus at the summit, alongside MDG acceleration and increasing needs for investment towards poverty reduction and youth employment. Specifically a goal of expanding renewable energy across the Arab region by 2030 was committed based on an Arab League Renewable Energy Action Plan (2010-2030), seen as a key pillar for achieving development under MDG and post-2015 frameworks.


 


The Arab region is well known as the world’s energy capital, hosting a majority of the planet’s conventional oil reserves. It is less know as an aspired leader in the shift to sustainable energy. That is changing. Arab countries are now placing great attention to reducing energy intensity of growth, not the least driven by the fact that most countries in the region are energy import dependent, with high energy prices an increasing drain on fiscal space for addressing various social and economic imperatives. About 60% of the poor in the region lacks sustainable access to energy, with low electrification rates in countries like the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Sudan, and Yemen. Meanwhile even for oil exporters in the region, the implications of faster oil depletion brings future risks to the traditional oil-export based development model.


In turning to new sustainable energy solutions, the region seeks to expand energy efficiency as a priority and to take particular advantage of its world leading levels of solar radiation. In line with the regional action plan, a surge of new sustainable energy policies and projects are taking shape. According to some estimates, there are now over $20billion of sustainable energy projects now taking shape across the Arab region, with many countries for example having set ambitious renewable energy targets.




 


2) What are the challenges/opportunities?


 


In looking to the challenges and opportunities for implementing this regional vision, as well as innovative projects being underway as called for in the Discussion 1 query, one case study is that of Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom is well known as hosting the world’s largest reserves of conventional oil, but a less known trend has been a new wave of sustainable energy measures to expand the share of renewable energy in the energy mix to 20% by 2030 and rapidly increase energy efficiency in key sectors. As seen below, the case shows that even in an energy rich context, the sustainable energy agenda is starting to gain traction.


 


Energy has been at the core of the national development model, with Saudi Arabia relying extensively on energy exports to achieve various social and economic development goals. The Kingdom ranked fifth globally in terms of rate of improvement from 1970-2010 on human development criteria, and third globally if measured solely by non-income factors such as improved access to health and education. Today, the country continues to rely on energy exports for about 80% of public revenues, financing an extensive social security system. But as the Kingdom looks to the future, and various social, economic and environmental drivers of change emerge, attention is increasingly placed on ways to engage sustainable energy solutions.


 


Today Saudi Arabia produces approximately 10 million barrels of oil per day, with about 3 million barrels of oil equivalent per day (mboe) used within the local economy. But as the country relies heavily on oil-burning power facilities for electricity and experiences rapid urban-industrial expansion, local per capita energy demand is growing so fast that if trends continue, local demand may need up to 7 mboe by 2030. Some estimate that this could translate by 2030 in up to $400 billion of foregone export revenues. Therefore, rapidly scaling-up energy efficiency measures while also building on its world leading solar radiation levels by expanding renewable energy, is now seen as a national imperative, and a critical opportunity to engage the benefits of clean energy for sustaining development. Nevertheless while the imperative for a shift to sustainable energy becomes clear from economic, social and environmental perspectives, a decades-long legacy of heavy oil reliance creates many barriers to real transformational change.


 


3) What can we do about it?


 


To overcome barriers for a shift in the market, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the Government and private sector partners have partnered on a National Energy Efficiency Programme (NEEP). Positioned as one of the Kingdom’s flagship national initiative to reduce the energy intensity of growth, it helps develop new systemic, institutional and human capacities for achieving the National Development Plan and local goals for sustainable energy. Key public agencies in the programme include the Ministry of Petroleum, King Abdullah City for Atomic & Renewable Energy, Ministry of Water & Electricity, Ministry of Commerce & Industry and Ministry of Municipalities. Several key results to date:


 


a) Institutional Frameworks for Sustainable Energy: NEEP supported design and launch of a new Saudi Energy Efficiency Center as a hub for nation-wide activities on sustainable energy. It now functions as an independent institution with full financing from the legislature, and a mandate by Royal Decree to lead development of nation-wide programmes to reduce energy intensity of growth, and provide technical advice to public and private partners on achieving sustainable energy results.


 


b) Sustainable Energy Policies and Regulations: NEEP has also resulted in new sustainable energy policies and measures including new electricity use tariff systems increasing the rates for commercial and industrial users in recent years as an incentive for better conservation, new efficiency labels and standards for specific energy-intensive appliances like air conditioner, electronics and refrigerators, and energy efficiency codes for new buildings. The initiative will also support design of the country’s first Energy Conservation Law and sustainable energy actions plans in key sectors like transport, buildings, petrochemicals, power supply, water supply and consumer appliances.


 


c) Private Partnerships and Investments: NEEP has succeeded in forging innovative public-private partnerships with strong engagement of strategic industry actors in key sectors - stimulating the market for sustainable energy solutions while mobilizing industry’s expertise, finance and technologies. This includes participation by leading energy and petrochemical companies such as Saudi Aramco, the Saudi Arabian Basic Industries Corporation, Saudi Electricity Company and the National Water Company.


 


d) Capacity Development for Energy Leaders: a key result of the cooperation has been the design and implementation of extensive training of trainers programmes for energy manager and leaders from public and private sectors focused on challenges and opportunities for more efficient use of energy in key sectors.


 


e) Energy Information Management Systems: another key focus is on the design and establishment of a new national energy information system as a database on energy supply and demand trends, forecasting and monitoring/evaluation of sustainable energy targets in key sectors.


 


f) Advocacy on Sustainable Energy Goals: a fundamental goal of NEEP is to raise the awareness of the general public and key decision-makers on the need to shift to a sustainable energy future. This includes the design and implementation of sustainable energy public campaigns in public spaces and through TV to transform consumer behaviour, particularly in residential and other high growth sectors.


 


Building on global networks on sustainable energy, connections are also made to share models and lessons learned between NEEP and other partners in the South. In recent times, this included participation of Saudi Arabia in the global UN South-South Expo themed in 2012 on Sustainable Energy & Climate Change, during which partners shared knowledge and experiences on NEEP and other emerging best practices. This also included connections to the 18th UNFCCC Conference of the Parties in Doha, the first Climate COP to be hosted in the Gulf, at which NEEP and other flagship initiatives were highlighted as part of the drive or a sustainable energy future in the Arab region.


 


Today the Arab region stands as the world’s energy capital, but backed by new public investments, public-private partnerships and capacity development support from the UN and partners, a new vision is emerging that could well see the region emerge as a top mover in sustainable energy solutions in coming years.


 


Regards,


 


Kishan Khoday


Deputy Resident Representative


UNDP, Saudi Arabia

Julie Larsen from
Wed, February 6, 2013 at 05.02 pm

Dear Kishan,

 

thank you for submitting this valuable information in response to the promt questions. If you have electronic copies, please share the NEEP and the Arab League Renewable Energy Action Plan (2010-2030), or any other documentation. I think these would be good to add to the consultation resource section,

Thank you again,

Julie (dialogue facilitator)

Julie Larsen from
Tue, February 5, 2013 at 07.04 pm

Hello everyone,

The discussion has certainly accelerated in the last few days. Thank you for these insightful postings. This will help tremedously to advance the integration of energy in the post-2015 process and beyond. 

I wanted to draw attention to the Climate Action Network International & Beyond 2015 Position Paper that was submitted specifically for this UN Thematic Consultation on Energy. 

The text is attached here and available on CAN-I's website by clicking here. I have also created a blog posting on this site so that comments can be exchnaged specifically on this substantial contribution.

Thank you - ~Julie (dialogue facilitator)

Anonymous from
Tue, February 5, 2013 at 04.01 pm

Contribution to thematic UN consultation on Energy

  • Do you think energy should be fully integrated in the post-2015 framework? If so, why?

Yes. Hivos sees energy “as a driving force for development” [1]. This is based on available research but also on our programme in which we support the development of vibrant local economies. For example building a biogas sector throughout several African and Latin American countries and Indonesia.  Access to (clean) energy offers people opportunities to improve living conditions and start small businesses. Decentralised energy systems in particular, which rely more on small-scale generation from renewable energy sources, allowing local stakeholders to become producers themselves, are crucial for rural development. A market-based approach that involves and strengthens local entrepreneurs and institutions is important to ensure long-lasting and self-sustaining results[2].

  • What are the priority energy issues that we must address as part of the post-2015?

Governments and international institutions often invest in large-scale fossil-fuel plants and centralised energy grids. Yet people living in poverty in remote, rural areas and on islands will never be connected to these grids and so will remain deprived of one of the basic conditions of a modern society. Hivos argues that governments and international community should support decentralised, renewable energy solutions that suit the poor. Universal energy access will require electricity from off-grid and mini grid sources.

It is also important to go beyond the first needs of (solar) light. Programmes should include all energy needs: electricity, thermal energy like for agricultural processing and cooking (best choice of fuels, stoves and prevention of toxic smoke) and shaft power (particularly relevant for processing agriculture products and small-scale manufacturing). It needs to include households, enterprises, other productive uses and community services (at least health, education, water pumping, street lighting and local government).

To achieve universal access finance, investments and subsidies need to be reviewed. Especially fossil fuels subsidies are harmful for the creation of stable and sustainable energy systems. Subsidies on the use of energy are counterproductive to reduce energy consumption and should be prevented as much as possible. It should be substituted with other measures that improve the financial situation of the poor in those cases that fuel subsidies are meant as income support. In other words, subsidies and other financial instruments should be reviewed in order to propel the uptake of renewable energy and energy access for the poor instead of supporting fossil fuels sales.

  • How do we effectively link energy issues to other related development issues, such as poverty reduction, food security, gender and climate change?  What specific roles should key stakeholders have?

Energy should be part of other policies and programmes and vice versa. It should be part of a broad approach and include all relevant stakeholders. A multistakeholder approach will enable this[3]. Especially the role of women should be taken into account and women should be equally represented during preparation and implementation. The local private sector and civil society should be included. Building the capacity of a range of actors that are involved in energy production and use, including a variety of government departments, private sector (including small enterprises, households), academia, and civil society is highly recommended.

For other issues we would like to refer to the joined NGO contribution by Climate Action Network.

Anonymous from
Wed, February 6, 2013 at 01.46 pm

l'énergie est indispensable pour tous et particulièrement pour les femmes qui l'utilise pour des fins ménagère et commerciale. Il en faut alors dans toutes communes et dans tous les villages. Les sources peuvent être hydraulique, solaire, éolienne etc....l'essentiel est qu'elle soit utile.

Anonymous from
Sun, February 3, 2013 at 12.50 pm

I agree with the views expressed by the commentators above. My concern is at the small number of people who have responded to a consultation on this extremely important issue.


If the post-2015 agenda is to be successful, it must incorporate energy. Access to energy is essential for social and economic development. If people are to improve their lives they need access to a range of energy services, for enterprises and community services, as well as for lighting, cooking and heating at home.


With modern sustainable energy people can:


- Light their homes, extending potential working hours and allowing children to read in the evenings


- Cook in ways which do not damage their health and the environment or place an excessive time burden on household members (particularly women and children).    


- Communicate with the wider world and gain better access to markets


- Work more productively


- Benefit from better health care, education and community services (such as street lighting, water and sanitation)


Without universal energy access, our efforts to improve education and health will be handicapped. Moreover, if the majority of poor people in developing countries continue to be denied access to modern, sustainable  energy, they will be forced to continue to use traditional biomass and fossil fuels inefficiently, just to subsist, thereby harming their own health and the environment.


The post-2015 agenda must incorporate energy access, and it must do so in ways that encompass all these energy needs, or efforts to improve people's lives will be misdirected and ineffective. This is not a small is issue, it is central to the development process and must be the focus of significant  attention and resources if the lives of billions of people around the world are to improve post 2015.

Usman Muhammad from
Sat, February 2, 2013 at 07.59 pm

Do you think energy should be fully integrated in the post-2015 framework? If so, why?

Energy in the modern world serve as a bedrock for any development ranging from rural to urban areas, energy is part and parcel of our day to day activities, energy is everything, energy is central to everything, energy is interconnected, interrelated, intertwined and interwoven with our lives. We should focus accelarating market based mechanism on RE products, so as to create competition in which prices come down and achieve economic of scale.
Excluding energy in the MDGs led to its unattainment in so many countries especially the Sub-Saharan Africa where poverty is striking the rural populace.
What are the priority energy issues that we must address as part of the post-2015?

Energy acces, clean cooking and energy efficiency must be given more priorities.
How do we effectively link energy issues to other related development issues, such as poverty reduction, food security, gender and climate change?
Renewable energy creates jobs, it helps agricultural development especially irrigation through solar water pumping machines and solar boreholes, it helps women save their time that would have been spent in searching for firewoods. In this regards, vicious circle of poverty will be broken then the issue of sustainabilty come in.What specific roles should key stakeholders have?
NGOs/CSOs should be given more priorities because they have direct contact with the rural populace, legislatures, local governments and regional leaders should be sensitized on the importance of renewable energy. International organizations, especially IRENA should be given more funding so that they can reach out to nooks and corners of every economy, unions, and other energy drivers should be involved.

I hope my quick and little input will be useful. Thank you. Usman from CREACC-Nigeria

Anonymous from
Sat, February 2, 2013 at 10.14 am

Energy is a catalylist. The challenges for the world in the era of Post 2015 could only be faced by addressing energy issues. People's standrd of living and aspirations for better wellbeing would have very high relevance to energy and therefore energy issues have to be integrated in a meaningful framework which looks beyond 2015.

Universal energy access is important, but not necessarily sufficient. We have to go for a total energy approach, which not only addresses basic energy needs, but also meets other needs for a satisfied wellbeing of the people. The needs change, and we need to cater to changing needs.Therefore, access, total access, affordability, reliability, accessability, clean aspects, security both at country and individual levels have to be considered to meet other basic needs and developmental requirements.

 

Development issues include water, food, livelihoods, education, health, sanitation, transpotation, housing, comfort and many more. Energy is basically used to facilitate and make better effectiveness. Therefore, energy should be an essential component in an holistic approach, well integrated and twinned as appropriate.

 

Governments, private sector and civil societies all have distinct roles to play. This include condusive policies and measures, investments for profit in such a way the masses do benefit from such investments though they are targetted at a profit and bringnings the voices and needs of the people to the limelight respectivly.

Anonymous from
Fri, February 1, 2013 at 02.11 pm

Energy, and notably sustainable energy should be fully integrated within the post-2015 framework in order to act as an enabler of economic growth, a catalyst for social development and a lever to address related environmental issues. Although there is no ”one size fits all” to global energy solutions, prioritizing the deployment of all forms of renewable energy is key. In the case of bioenergy, existing SE4ALL initiatives such as clean cooking solutions and projects such as Cleanstar Mozambique (http://www.cleanstarmozambique.com/) show that is possible to link energy and development issues such as deforestation and food security together.


Similar approaches in terms of addressing sustainable energy are also be undertaken through the development of biofuels which are derived from agricultural residues and waste, as well as from municipal solid waste.


It is important to align and coordinate key stakeholders so that they are not only able to contribute to their specific part of the relevant knowledge or value chains, from investing and developing and deploying solutions, to providing policy frameworks or supporting capacity building, as well as enhance understanding of key underlying issues and promote and disseminate best practices.

Benjamin Sporton from
Fri, February 1, 2013 at 11.03 am

Access to energy is essential to addressing the problems that cause poverty. Without energy, people cannot access the opportunities provided by the modern world but 1.3 billion people lack access to electricity today. With coal resources existing in many developing countries, coal clearly has a major role to play in providing energy access in the form of coal-fired electricity.

There is a huge opportunity to ensure that modern and clean coal technologies can be part of addressing the challenges of energy poverty. Despite all the challenges that exist, there is nothing preventing the provision of energy to those who currently lack it and crucially, those energy needs can be met without impacting climate ambitions.

The World Energy Outlook 2011 highlights that “coal alone accounts for more than 50% of the total on-grid additions” required to achieve the IEA’s Energy for All case. This clearly demonstrates coal’s fundamental role in supporting modern base load electricity. As nations develop, they seek secure, reliable and affordable sources of energy to strengthen and build their economies – coal is a logical choice in many of these countries because it is widely available, safe, reliable and relatively low cost. Many developing countries have significant, untapped coal reserves.

The UN Secretary-General’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative provides important guidance on how to deploy basic energy services to improve lighting and cooking in households and local communities. These solutions will be useful for addressing the challenge in the short to medium term, particularly for alleviating the severe health and other social consequences of lack of access to energy. But we need to look further than that. We must look to longer term and broader solutions for providing grid-based electricity going further than the immediate challenge of energy for households and into energy for business and industry to support real economic development and stronger social infrastructure such as schools and hospitals.

In order to ensure sustainable development consistent with the world’s energy access needs and climate objectives, we need:

  • Ambitious global energy access targets: an ambitious global energy access target must be adopted to support the eradication of poverty, the growth of businesses and industries and true economic and social development.
  • Rapid deployment of all advanced coal technologies: National governments and international institutions must support the rapid deployment of all advanced coal technologies, particularly improved efficiencies at power stations and CCS.
  • Financial backing: International financial institutions must adopt policies that will allow national governments to determine which energy solutions are appropriate to their needs and support those decisions with the appropriate financial backing.

Delivering sustainable development will mean dealing with several issues at once. Ensuring access to electricity and supporting economic growth are essential to eradicating human poverty and supporting human development. At the same time, we have to address global CO2 emissions to mitigate the impacts of climate change as well as conserving biodiversity. It is only after global consideration of all these issues together that there will be any significant progress towards providing energy access for all.

Crosby Menzies from
Wed, February 6, 2013 at 05.04 am

I agree that we need to get energy to another 1.3 billion people, however I believe we need to urgently phase out coal - and the other dominant player in the energy industry - nuclear power.


Taking climate change into effect. One of our most urgent tasks is to take the world's 1000 dirtiest coal stations off-line ASAP - this can seriously reduce our emissions overnight. It would be great to see clean coal technology being implemented - that carbon capture and storage is complicated and to my knowledge there is not one plant that has been set up despite all the talk about it over the last 20 years.

I think it is fair to say that these technologies have had their day in the sun, however renewable energy can provide all of our needs - both for those with energy and especially for the 1.4 billion that need energy. As commented - these groups will never get to all of the people without energy. I think there is a time for new industries to come on stream and there is a time for old industries to bow out gracefully.

with all respect, and in light of governments slow pace to move on implementing clean coal and knowing what we know about coal emissions as one of the biggest drivers of climate change - it is definitely time to swap to current sunlight instead of ancient sunlight.

Crosby
Anonymous from
Fri, February 1, 2013 at 08.26 am

Energy is so important to women's empowerment after the post MDG period because MDG3,4,5 and 7 will not be acheived anyway and the issues of energy were not considered an important aspect of the achievement of those MDGs.  Energy considerations, specially technologies that deal with addressing indoor air pollution that affect the health and bodies of women and children have not been of concern in addresing the MDGs.  Energy has been considered as gender-neutral, as has been women's work.  As a result, even GDP of nations have not considered women's work in accounting for outputs that make up GDPs.  Women's search for energy for food preparation and processing, cooking and lighting has been unaccounted for, society sharing the view that these works are women's sole social responsibilities.


To help accelerate and achieve the MDGs and after, attention should now be drawn to the importance of mainstreaming gender into energy projects to consider women's contribution, economic empowerment and full participation in the decisions and  policy making.  Much attention should be paid to scaling up and make sustainable the numerous energy projects and processes that have been set in motion in the renewable, off-grid, improved clean cookstove, solar and many other sectors.


 

Anonymous from
Thu, January 31, 2013 at 09.06 pm

If the goal is really to achieve a "just and sustainable world free from poverty," then energy must be a pillar of this discussion. That said, one must avoid the pitfalls of discussing energy in the abstract, normative, or ideological manner. An example of this would be placing too much of an emphasis on renewables, renewable technologies, and "sustainable" methods. Sustainable implies first that it succeeds, and thus can continue to succeed.

While many of us are hopefull that renewable energy is the path to the future, it remains clear that we are not there yet. To gloss over this as a reality does the people you wish to help a grave injustice.

A frank and honest discussion of how energy can impact and achieve a "just and sustainable world free from poverty" must face some hard truths. Those engaged must have a serious understanding of the role that natural resource extraction plays, the unfortunate yet necessary reality of burning of fossil fuels, and the role of multinational corporations play in providing infrastructure, employment and access to financing.Also, natural resource extraction, burning of fossil fuels and the role of the multinational corporation in the developing world clearly have their benefits as well as they detractions.

Crosby Menzies from
Thu, January 31, 2013 at 04.05 pm

Hi,

Crosby here from SunFire Solutions www.sunfire.co.za - its great to read all of your comments
http://mg.co.za/multimedia/2013-01-29-saving-the-world-one-meal-at-a-time 

 

SunFire Spealises in clean energy Cooking and small scale decentralised energy systems ands would like to hera from anyone else in the same field - to share experiences and to discuss working together to increase energy access,

Please enjoy our latest video and inbox me with ANY questions,

Looking forward to working closely with as many as possible in the future,

Sunny Regards

Crosby Menzies

Founder and CEO

 

SunFire Solutions

Johannesburg

South Africa

Mobile +27 (0)82 954 0144

Office +27 (0)11 624 2432

www.sunfire.co.za

http://www.energynow.com/video/2012/01/07/solar-ovens-south-africa

http://mg.co.za/multimedia/2012-04-25-cooking-with-the-sun

Please watch SunFire Solutions latest Videos in 2012 to understand more about our work.

 

 

 

 

Suman Apparusu from
Thu, January 31, 2013 at 11.41 am

With reference to the questions in the framing paper, the response outlines are shared below. Hope these will prove useful.

Q1R: Energy needs to be viewed as one important dimension in the whole scheme of sustainable development whose conceptual definition continues to be elusive. If one were to look at sustainable development as a function of (population, natural capital, geo-strategic location, history, culture and social fabric) then the discussion moves to a fundamentally different frame with energy becoming important to some , if not all, components of the SD equation.

Q2R: Following response in Q1R, priority issues become energy security and resource use innovations/efficiencies

Q3R: A development-energy connector framework could prove useful. The connectors essentially are interface points/areas which when addressed, lead to fulfullment of objectives that lie on either side of the connectors. For e.g. one could break down energy side to four principal dimensions - accessibility, affordability, availability, utilization and on the development side three dimensions - empowerment, engagement and education and explore connectors which might help link these dimensions on energy and development side. And if found useful, the exercise may be extended to other development issues and the results synthesized into a SMART framework.

Q4R: Governments - flagship initiatives/policies, civil society - innovation brokers and change agents, businesses/donors - integrate sustainability principles fully into their institutions , engage, fund and fully support - governments , civil society , academia - capacity innovations

Q5, Q6, Q7, Q8 R: Fundamentally UN needs to play a catalytic role is 're-framing' the sustainable development  agenda and in a way that  fully meets the individual nations' SD aspirations shunning a one-size-fits all approach. To be able to do this it may elicit the key notions of SD agreed across various conventions and agreements into a simple functional model as outlined in Q1R and use it as a guide to help individual nations to build their capacity, targets, goals, programmes or policies with suitable M*E approaches. For which it may think of a new fund called 'Global Development Fund'  to make it happen. Communications could then have  stakeholder, indicators/goals, achievements, national/regional/global, fund specific lens/views.

Julie Larsen from
Mon, February 4, 2013 at 09.46 pm

Dear Suman,

Thank you for your very concise reply. There seems to be broad agreement on the discussion board that sustainable energy is an important dimension for development and most definitely requires full integration in the post-2015 agenda. 

I would like to invite further comment, if your time permits, on the idea that "The connectors essentially are interface points/areas which when addressed, lead to fulfullment of objectives that lie on either side of the connectors". Very interesting.

Thanks again for your contribution.

Julie (dialogue facilitator) 

Suman Apparusu from
Tue, February 5, 2013 at 06.32 am

Dear Julie

Thank you for the opportunity to contribute.

In one of the climate and gender case studies that we developed, we used the connector approach to generate a set of useful recommendations. As an exemplar, we picked climate change ( increase resilience ) and gender ( access to basic services, political participation, access to skills and livelihood oopportunities) dimensions and linked them using development (employment, empowerment , education) dimensions as the connectors. Thus,when development connector dimensions are addressed,  the climate change and gender dimensions stand addressed .The idea suggested in the post is to explore /extend such a framework to energy and this implictly calls for decoupling the energy and development arguments. Whereas the consensus that seems to evolve on the board is to retain the current tight coupling of energy and development and explore the energy challenge within this coupled notion. Trust this clarifies.

Julie Larsen from
Tue, February 5, 2013 at 06.47 pm

Great example. Thank you for helping to elaborate an interesting approach to validating and working with ernergy's interlinkages. ~ Julie

Anonymous from
Thu, January 31, 2013 at 06.42 am

Response to Q1:


Energy matters because it is an enabler. It catalyses development in all kinds of ways. It is crucial to challenging poverty and to help people to live the lives they want. Despite being a ‘missing MDG’, energy access has supported progress towards the current MDGs in all kinds of ways, see http://practicalaction.org/energy-and-the-mdgs.  We believe it should be central to the post 2015 development framework.


The current approaches to delivering energy access are far too narrowly focused on extending the electricity grid. We know, from the IEA, that if we are to reach universal energy access by 2030, at least 55% of investment needs to be in decentralised (off-grid and mini-grid) solutions. If grid extension continues to be prioritised in government and donor spending, by 2030 energy access will be as distant a prospect as it is now for many millions of poor people.  


We also need to recognise that people need other types of energy supply beyond electricity. In particular they need energy for cooking and mechanical power. For energy to truly drive development, we need to think beyond households too, and increase investment in energy for productive uses and community services. All these aspects need to be recognised in how ‘energy access’ is defined and delivered. We need a ‘total energy access’ approach. This is the approach Practical Action is promoting in our ‘Poor People’s Energy Outlook’ reports.


In a practical sense, if we are to deliver universal energy access we need change in three areas: policy, finance and capacity. Policy (to prioritise energy access for the poor), finance (to generate sufficient funds and direct them in ways that meet needs e.g. to off-grid and decentralised solutions), and capacity (building the capacity of a range of stakeholders – from government technicians to community members - to make the necessary changes). These are the essential components of a healthy energy access ecosystem. Recognising energy as a cross-cutting issue (in the sectors of agriculture, enterprise, health and education) is also an important step.


SE4ALL has ensured that energy access is a political priority. For it to deliver, we want to see even more countries joining the Initiative and actively adopting the SE4ALL approach to measuring and providing energy access, which recognised the full range of energy services that people need and the full range of supplies that are necessary. Mobilising more commitments from key SE4ALL actors, and ensuring that those commitments go beyond a focus on just electricity and just household, will help to give people the power to challenge their poverty.


The UN Secretary General recently spoke of civil society as a ‘third pillar’ of SE4ALL, alongside government and business, recognising the clear value that CSOs can add to the initiative. Civil society is not just a beneficiary of change. We can bring insights of the kinds of energy supplies and services that really matter to poor people. We can guide policies to properly account for poor people’s needs. We can support capacity building, demonstrate examples of what works, and be part of mobilising stakeholders for implementation. With both appetite and expertise to contribute, civil society can be a partner in achieving universal energy access but more and better efforts need to be made, and adequately resourced, to raise CSO awareness and engagement with SE4ALL – especially in the South. We would welcome, and are waiting, for SE4ALL to seriously invite civil society to help define and deliver energy universal energy access.


We are excited at the prospect of a new set of Sustainable Development Goals and hope that the current profile of energy access will ensure that it secures space. This would be an important step. But to truly see energy enable development it is crucial that the indicators below the goal reflect the full range of poor peoples energy needs and therefore influence global investment on energy – including and beyond electricity, grid connection and household.


 

Julie Larsen from
Mon, February 4, 2013 at 10.22 pm

Thank you Grace. Your post is choke-full of compelling information. I just tweeted about it, and hope that followers will take a moment to review the examples of  how improving energy access is fundamental to achieving the Millennium Development Goals at: http://practicalaction.org/energy-and-the-mdgs.

Kind regards,

Julie (dialogue facilitator)

Usman Muhammad from
Tue, February 5, 2013 at 05.06 am

My Contribution,

Q1. Do you think energy should be fully integrated in the post-2015 framework? If so, why?

Energy in the modern world serve as a bedrock for any development ranging from rural to urban areas, energy is part and parcel of our day to day activities, energy is everything, energy is central to everything, energy is interconnected, interrelated, intertwined and interwoven with our lives. We should focus in accelerating market based mechanism on RE products, so as to create competition in which prices come down and achieve economic of scale.

Excluding energy in the MDGs led to its unattainment in so many countries especially the Sub-Saharan Africa where poverty is striking the rural populace.

Q2. What are the priority energy issues that we must address as part of the post-2015?

Energy access, clean cooking products and energy efficiency must be given more priorities. Fastest economies such as the BRICs have an upper hand to leapfrog the dirty pass of other industrial nations to adapt to newly green growth initiatives.

Q3. How do we effectively link energy issues to other related development issues, such as poverty reduction, food security, gender and climate change?

Renewable energy creates jobs, it helps agricultural development especially irrigation through solar water pumping machines and solar boreholes, it helps women save their time that would have been spent in searching for firewood. In this regards, vicious circle of poverty will be broken then the issue of sustainability will come in.

What specific roles should key stakeholders have?

NGOs/CSOs should be given more priorities because they have direct contact with the rural populace, legislature, local governments and regional leaders should be sensitize on the importance of renewable energy. International, governmental, and other key organisations should give more attention to SDGs with energy as the number one priority, IRENA should be given more funding so that they can reach out to nooks and corners of every economy, unions, and other energy drivers should be involved.

I hope my quick and little input will be useful. Thank you. Usman from CREACC-Nigeria uuthmann@yahoo.com

Usman Muhammad
Executive Director,
Centre for Renewable Energy and Action on Climate Change, (CREACC)
Legally Registered with CAC/IT/NO: 54245
NO.: 30, Premier Road,
Mujaddadi Trado,
PO Box, 379,
Gusau, Zamfara State,
Nigeria
+234 (0) 803 781 6437
uuthmann@yahoo.com
creaccnigeria@gmail.com

Anonymous from
Wed, January 30, 2013 at 12.38 pm

¿Cree usted que la energía debe estar plenamente integrado en el marco post-2015? Si es así, ¿por qué?

Si, ya que la energía es una de las herramientas para el alivio de la pobreza y el fomento del desarrollo. En su World Energy Outlooks del 2002, la Agencia Internacional de Energía destaca que “la falta de electricidad exacerba la pobreza y contribuye a perpetuarla, ya que restringe la mayorparte de las actividades industriales y los empleos que crean.”

¿Cuáles son los problemas prioritarios de energía que tenemos que abordar en el marco de la post-2015?

El reemplazo de fuentes fósiles y contaminantes por el fomento de la generación de energía a través de fuentes renovables y la eficiencia energética.

¿Cómo vincular eficazmente los problemas energéticos a otras cuestiones relacionadas con el desarrollo, como la reducción de la pobreza, la seguridad alimentaria, el género y el cambio climático?

Tal como se mencionó en la primera pregunta, existen estudios que indican un vínculo directo entre la pobreza y el acceso a la energía. Es por ello que el acceso a la energía en comunidades de bajos recursos es fundamental como una de las herramientas para el alivio de la pobreza. Asimismo, matrices energéticas de menor dependencia de combustibles fósiles implicaría un ahorro de emisiones de gases efecto invernadero.

¿Qué funciones específicas deben tener las partes interesadas clave?

* Sector público: fomentar el uso de energías limpias para la generación eléctrica y transporte a través de un marco normativo de participación, energías renovables y eficiencia energética

* Sector privado, sociedad civil y academia: participar y exigir su lugar de participación en la construcción de una matriz energética más limpia y accesible a la mayor cantidad de habitantes posibles.

Katharine Cross from
Wed, January 30, 2013 at 11.39 am

Do you think energy should be fully integrated in the post-2015 framework? If so, why?

Energy needs to be part of the post 2015 framework, but with a full understanding of the linkages, as well as positive and negative imapcts on water and food. The energy sector is responsible for withdrawing 8% of all the worlds’ water, and in some cases up to 40% as in the USA.  Food and energy production are inextricably linked to, and dependent on the availability of and access to water resources. 

What are the priority energy issues that we must address as part of the post-2015?

There needs to be exploration of how to optimize the use of conventional and non-conventional energy sources. for example, how can we better use bioenergy from waterwater treatment processes? If we are going to invest in biofuels, then how can we make the process energy positive (think of the enregy needed to pump water for irrigation and process crops into fuel).

Take a look at the Post 2015 Water discussions as well to share ideas on linking water and energy.

Anonymous from
Wed, January 30, 2013 at 02.32 pm

Hi Catherine


Could expand please on how energy withdraws 8% of the world's available water and 40% in the USA?. or give some references on this issue please


Teo

Katharine Cross from
Wed, January 30, 2013 at 02.51 pm

I will just make a correction to the quote - its not the USA, but developed countries (which include the USA) - "the energy sector accounts for 8% of the world-wide freshwater withdrawals. In the developed countries the withdrawal is 40%" (Olsson, G. 2012. Water and Energy: Threats and Opportunities. IWA Publishing:London).

Anonymous from
Tue, January 29, 2013 at 11.13 pm

Energy should be fully integrated in the post-2015 framework. As previous commenters have noted, access to power provides the basis for addressing several developmental challenges (health, education, etc.). One priority area that should be addressed is the opportunity to avoid the inefficient and expensive power grid structure of most of the developed world. There is a real opportunity in the effort to ensure universal power access to promote distributed generation, which is more reliable, efficient and secure than centralized grid power. Distributed generation can take many forms depending on the natural resources available to the local community - solar, wind, geothermal, natural gas, biomass, etc. The challenge is both ensuring the model of distributed generation will be commercially viable as well as garnering the buy-in of local communities that must see their local power generation sources as valued assets that they should protect from theft/vandalism and that will provide them with reliable, affordable power. If the goal is just universal energy access for all - even if through non-commercially viable models - it is unlikely that the result will be sustainable energy access for all in the longer term.

Anonymous from
Mon, January 28, 2013 at 03.34 pm

I think that it is important to remember the linkages between energy and other key development goals. Energy access has the ability to accelerate economic development in a number of ways, and therefore should be fully integrated into the post-2015 development agenda. Some examples include:

1. Education

• Schools can be used for community and business activities after school hours using school lighting and technology
• Students can study in their homes after dark
• Power for computers, ICT, and internet
•Improved living standards for rural teachers increases retention
2) Agriculture
• Forests can be restored as they are no longer needed for fuel, providing environmental benefits
• Pumps can power enhanced irrigation, increasing crop yields, food security, nutrition, and livelihoods
• Crops can be processed in villages, capturing more value for smallholders
3) Healthcare

• Powered health facilities and care raises life expectancy while reducing infant and maternal mortality
• Clean stoves eliminate cook fires in homes and improve respiratory health
• Solar refrigeration to store vaccines
4) Economic Development
• Cottage industries can take root and provide micro-enterprise opportunities, with potential to empower women
• Businesses can operate after dark
• Businesses can use modern technology, including internet and cellular technology
Jason G.
Accenture
Anonymous from
Mon, January 28, 2013 at 10.50 am
  • Do you think energy should be fully integrated in the post-2015 framework? If so, why?
  • What are the priority energy issues that we must address as part of the post-2015?
  • How do we effectively link energy issues to other related development issues, such as poverty reduction, food security, gender and climate change?
  • What specific roles should key stakeholders have?

 

Speaking as a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, I spent more than two years living and working in a rural setting in Rwanda, Africa. As per my perspectives this is specifically what I have encountered and witnessed as a result of my time spent amongst farmers and Rwandan nationals. These are my views and no one else's. 

Firstly, Rwanda's preference in terms of energy settings are through electrical wiring for domestic needs and charcoal or firewood for cooking. There are some who use gas but they're often from the upper classes. The reason these choices are important to the discussion, is that in going forward it may become a constraint on the lives of many people in the country to have to use unrenewable (and expensive) resources just to get by. Land is already scarce, with Rwanda being the most densely populated, land-locked country and land/resources has been a tenuous topic in this nation for quite some time. It was most recently one of many factors that contributed to the region's instability and civil wars that have taken place over the past twenty years: the fact that some few hold the majority of the land for purposes of cattle herding while the majority, who are subsistence farmers, are forced to share smaller parcels of land for cultivation. But I digress... In Rwanda it is evident that there needs to be an effective alternative and solution to their over-reliance on charcoal, firewood and electricity as it is inefficient, unreliable and a cause for conflict amongst its citizens. There are further reasons to support that go as follows:

  • The resources for firewood and charcoal are spread very thin with such a high population per km2. Additionally, the use of eucalyptus trees in attempts at restoring the effects of deforestation prove detrimental to farming efforts as eucalyptus absorbs excessive amounts of water and take up large areas of land. Secondly, there is only a certain amount of firewood available and this will prove contentious in the future as family planning government agendas are slow to take hold in the countryside, leading to a higher need for firewood and because eucalyptus is neither a sustainable resource for forestation and because its properties for firewood liken it to wanting to use dried grass.
  • The inhalation of woodsmoke while cooking is one the leading causes of death in the third world as this continual inhalation eventually leads to lung and breathing problems in old age that kill and affect so many. The lack of education about proper ventilation techniques as well as better, less smoky options for cooking and construction need to be invested in for the insurance of rural peoples health.
  • Previously mentioned, the lasting and wide-reaching effects of deforestation on available, arable land and the subsequent devaluation of the land (thanks to an overreliance on an unreliable plant due to eucalyptus' rate of water absorption and subsequent rises in soil acidity levels.
  • Over-reliance on unrenewable resources is both self-interested and unsustainable for the likes of those in charge of domestic agendas inside Rwanda (however I remain convinced that these same issues are faced throughout the developing world). Besides the agendas being misdirected, the fact remains that a country like Rwanda is sunny up to 90% of the time in its 30 districts. Solar energy options need to be pushed for more convincingly, developed and made more affordable. The reason being because shortening stocks of resources drive up the already expensive prices for charcoal and firewood, in a country that's still predominantly at a subsistence standard of living.
  • Additionally, placing wires and electrical posts in a mountainous, hilly terrain like Rwanda proves tricky as engineering standards and the infrastructure to expedite the construction of electrical towers is greatly lacking the further one goes from urban areas. Over the two years of my living in the countryside, they only made two miles of progress from their initial starting point (of course, never having reached my village). Besides the issue of access, there's the issue of consistency. With such a dense population as Rwanda has and thus such high electricity needs, brown outs occur in every area outside of the capital and often, as power grids are irregular and not well established.

In summary, I see that there is great potential for diversification of the energy resources in Rwanda and the East African Community. One project invested and developed by some volunteer friends was the renewal of leftovers at a sawdust mill to construct fuelable bricks that could cheaply and effectively replace charcoal bricks, but that was only one such example and specific to an area with a saw mill. The government needs to look past the immediacy of the capital city, Kigali, which not only has 3G connection throughout, crosswalk indicators, but street signs and street addresses. And take root in places like the village where I used to live as they are without paved roads, any form of electricity/wireless and much of anything else. The disparity is large and as time has proven: a point of anger and frustration between the classes. The potential for success of other venues: solar or wind power, is tremendous with the right marketing and it can work to stifle differences and promote the unity which Rwanda has been rectifying and reestablishing since their genocide in 1994.

As their president currently asserts, Africa and Rwanda need to get behind their own efforts and write their own stories to cultivate another, more positive (and accurate) image of Africa--one not posited by those in the West. By developing self-sustaining options, Rwanda would not only cut their dependence to foreign industries and nations, they could do so independently of foreign input. Rwanda, for many is a beacon of hope and demonstrative of the potential that can exist succesfully in Africa when spearheaded by the right individuals. Thus by decreasing: the strain on local resources, the cause for conflict over limited resources and the lack of accessible options for energy in hard to reach areas, the introduction of less hazardous energy options present just some of the many potential benefits that remain a real possibility and of which I have made observations throughout my time living in this country. 

The reasons I've just listed are a short list and summary of the entire conundrum that faces much of Africa. But hopefully this may help to give shape to the issues and options for resolution that are present in Rwanda (accordingly of my observation), as well as why this discussion matters so greatly and urgently not only for Rwanda but for the stability of the entire East African region.

Anonymous from
Thu, January 31, 2013 at 08.53 am

I agree with Daniel's comments about renewable energies and the necessity to find more sustainable ways for energy sources. I think that in many developing countries the problem is quite complex (including problems from proper sanitation, lack of safe drinking water, etc.) and therefore also needs more complex solutions. But sometimes also traditional (or ancient) solutions might help if we implement them properly. I have followed with a great interest the work that the Hamburg University of Technology (department of wastewater management and water protection) under leadership of Prof. Ralph Otterpohl has carried out. If you have not heard about their Terra Preta Sanitation (TPS) work, you should take a look at some of the results in http://www.terra-preta-sanitation.net/cms/index.php?id=31



TPS is a systemic approach to link sanitation and agriculture to protect soil fertility and water resources. Instead of polluting fresh water with human excreta and urine they are used to create Terra Preta soil. Terra Preta is a highly fertile black soil made by composting bio waste in addition of charcoal and faeces which are pre-treated by lactic acid fermentation. It was invented by an ancient Indio civilization in the Amazon forest and is still fertile after hundreds of years.



As a conclusion of the process, we do not only very fertile soil and can get rid of expensive and non- sustainable fertilizers, but we also improve the sanitation for many people (especially in dense areas). Another great benefit of this process is that the groundwater quality improves significantly as the human extractives do not pollute it anymore. And finally the woodgas stoves (if proper ones) would also do a double job, as the gas could be used for cooking and heating the room, whereas the resulting pure carbon would be used for Terra Preta.


I just wanted to mention this work because I find it very interesting and wanted to share it with you. I have not been in Rwanda, so I cannot say if this concept would work there, but after having read Daniel's article I thought that it might also work there. You can read more about TPS in the website of Hamburg University of Technology: www.terra-preta-sanitation.net


Julie Larsen from
Tue, January 29, 2013 at 10.17 pm

Daniel,

Thank you for sharing these insights. Your comments around the  great potential for diversification of the energy resources in Rwanda and the East African Community made me think of the benefits open to some countries around "leap frogging", where nations can learn from the past and leap directly to some of the newer, more sustainable and localized solutions for energy provision. Much like the telecommunications industry and mobile solutions, which has allowed some countries to leap-frog over costly infrastructure needs.

Thanks - Julie

Anonymous from
Mon, January 28, 2013 at 09.27 am

Dear I think that energy should be an imprtant  part of the post-2015. One majore reaon lies in the striong links between energy and food security. Indeed  


  • The agrifood sector accounts for around 30 percent of the world’s total energy consumption, with more than 70 percent occurring beyond the farm gate;  about 40% of the energy used in the agrifood chain is lost together with food losses, primarily beyond the farm gate. The agrifood chain also emits about 20 percent of total GHG emissions.

  • Modernizing food and agriculture systems by increasing the use of fossil fuels, as was done in the past, may not be an affordable or sustainable option because of climate change issues and also due to the influence of costly fossil fuels on input prices. Therefore, links between energy and food security are now stronger than before, and this requires that agriculture intensification be gradually decoupled from the use of fossil fuels

  • The FAO multi-partner programme on “Energy Smart Food for People and Climate (ESF)” addresses the above challenge. More broadly, ESF systems are the contribution of agrifood sector contribution in terms of energy to a green economy and  the UN sustainable energy for all initiative  because they:

-        Improve  energy efficiency at all stages of the agrifood chain ;


-        Increase the use of renewable energy;


-        improve access to modern energy services through integrated food and energy production.


  • Energy-smart food systems also address climate change challenges. On the one hand they help mitigate climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and sometimes leading to carbon sequestration. They can also help rural communities adapt to climate change by increasing their reliance on local energy sources and diversifying incomes.

  • FAO has been working for quite some time on the links between energy and agriculture. An overview of FAO’s more recent work on ”Energy-Smart Food” can be found here -http://www.fao.org/docrep/015/an913e/an913e00.htm  

    • Sustainable bioenergy is an important part of Energy-Smart Food for People and Climate. A sound and integrated approach is required to ensure that bioenergy, contributes to sustainable development. FAO proposes such an approach through the FAO sustainable bioenergy support package: Making bioenergy work for people, energy and climate – which includes tools to develop a strategy, appraise projects, implement good practices and monitor performance of bioenergy development – It is summarised here http://foris.fao.org/preview/28392-0a6fa87cdb2f3aa0d63bddb17bb2a6b8e.pdf

Best regards


Olivier Dubois, Coordinator of FAO's programme on energy


 

Julie Larsen from
Tue, January 29, 2013 at 10.20 pm

Olivier,

This is really important work - as noted - this global conversation is meant to gather and build upon progress being made, taking stock to ensure it is reflected in post-2015 deliberations. I've added the FAO's "Energy Smart Food" report to our list of key energy publications on the main energy consultation page. Thank you for sharing it.

Julie

Anonymous from
Sun, January 27, 2013 at 09.56 pm
  • Do you think energy should be fully integrated in the post-2015? If yes, why?

yes, we in the organization "Ecology and Development-Togo" believe that the problematic energy should be a priority in the post-debate 2015.ceci for several reasons:

   - The important role of energy in all forms of development

   - But also and especially the impact of the production and consumption of energy on the environment.

Yes, choices of energy use and infrastructure shape our world, so we need to convert asap immediately yesterday to clean, renewable energy use and infrastructure that will not destroy our world. .. . .including a global grid for more constant flows (that can measure rates in and out) . ..a w.w.g.. . . .as we invented the w.w.w.. . . .    These actions and reactions turn exponential through time and space . . . .so we want to invest in positive actions that will  grow upwards toward the positive through time enough to lift all up to light and positive, abundant productivity to lift all out of poverty.    Integration with productive, healthy watersheds and airsheds with nature so nature will produce riches for us. .. . instead of against nature . . .. .is key to this positive development.

 

In contrast, the dirty fuels industries have caused deadly levels of carbon emissions to heat our planet, to activate global systems to very dangerous levels that are now costing  too many too much, sucking all down easy, cheap, quick.    Driven by selfish greed of, by, for privatized profiteering for the dirty fuels industry and lobbyists for the dirty fuel industry, this sector no larger than 1% has controlled Washington, DC too long and threatens to destroy not only the US, but also all civilized peoples and lands on earth. . .. .while also deceiving our populations into defining the word, "economy" as limited to only one privatized, immediate and obvious bank account for only one privatized self.

Yes, we need cash to build great cities.   But we also need to count and value God's nature's richly diverse and productive green ecosystems of infnintiely intricate and vast biological organisms, plants and animals and biogeochemical patterns impossible to count in terms of human cash.

We need to redefine the term, "economy" to include the productive web for all life that produces all critcial flows for demanding human cities to consume. . . .. critical producers and flows of logical ecosystems that keep humans alive day to day and minute to minute.

But human cities destroy nature, instead.

 

The word root, "eco-" as in "eco+nomic" and in "eco+logic" means "house" or "oikos" in Greek. .. . . . but not every house nurtures those within.   Some houses hurt and destroy those within.    Houses need nature to produce the critical flows that make a house into a home, a nurturing refuge for the innocent.

Instead, cash-driven worlds have seized control of energy production and distribution to control us, to destroy us and our worlds.

 

We can't afford that.

 

We need safe, affordable access to safe, affordable opportunities to find safe, affordable critcial flows of resources and information, including energy, a home, critical air and O2 . ..(not CO2, not CO, not O3). .. . .  and H2O and topsoil to grow food and shelter and nurturing parents and laughter, public and private health, "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. .. . ."

 

It's difficult to find any life or happiness when unable to breathe, so moral laws of reciprocity developed in numerous religions and numerous civilizations have developed the Rule of Law to protect the innocent from the harsh, violent, insensitive and cash-driven of greed.

 

Now is the time for our world to seize the moment, the opportunities for substituting clean, renewable energy infrastructure and technology to replace the old, worn out, archaic, peaked, dirty, dangerous, toxic and deadly forms of dirty fuels, dirty energy including "clean coal,"  dirty coal, nuclear risks, dirty petroleum, oil, gas, including methane that is much more powerful as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide CO2, and oil wars. . .. ..

This conversion to safer, cleaner, more renewable and pleasant energy infrastructure will free us easily from numerous worries, supply our needs easily (the sun alone can satsfiy all of earth's energy needs x 11,000). .. . . . and enable all peoples and life on earth to live in positive worlds instead of clinging for life sucked down into deadly tailspins of hate.

 

This transformation will be complex but not difficult if we can find the vision and wisdom and political will. ... . and help from the coal, oil and gas and nuclear industries. . . . to build a safer, more cost-effective, more pleasant and abundant energy infrastructure of, by, for a happier future for All, 100% . . . . including coal, nuclear and oil and gas CEO's children.

 

I wish Dick Cheney's secret "Energy Task Force" in the spring of 2001 had focused on clean, renewable energy development . . . .instead of seizing control of oil fields in Iraq.  

 

But now we have the opportunity to invest in a more positive world. . . . instead of causing the negative.

 

All of Iowa's Congressional Delegation has supported the Wind Energy Tax Credit because they know it is good for Iowa's economy and for national security.   I am very proud as Iowa has become the leader in the nation per capita in wind energy production (2011).

As we invest more and more into clean, renewable energy infrastructure, our natural ecological systems will become stronger and more resilient, more able to service our human cities to supply more and better quality of critical flows (such as clean air, O2, water, topsoil, food, shelter for a healthier and more productive population), and our watersheds and airsheds more able to filter and cool (or warm) and buffer our air and water so that humans won't need to build so many costly water treatment plants.    (New York City uses their watersheds to treat their water for distribution.)

 

Nature's logical economies produce little waste because those ecological economies are so finely tuned after millions of years of successful function, living organisms and systems that consume to produce and produce to consume infinitely intricate and vast, diverse flows impossible to count in terms of mechanical, artificial human cash.

 

Human cash counts to divide and divides to count to crush the competition, the diverse, the differences that enable many to survive.

 

 

  • What are the priority energy issues that we must address in the context of post-2015?

for ecologists, energy issues are among others

      - Efficiency and energy sobriety

     - The development of green energy

     - Especially for us African countries, the transfer of technonogies (but also skills) energy to our countries.

 

* Invest immediately, pooling all resources possible into a smarter, international grid that can measure flows in and out so that small, individual producers can contribute to global energy production for a more constant flow as certain types of energy generation are nocturnal, others during the daytime.. .. . .as we have developed a w.w.w. to activate our economies. . . . .a world wide grid, a w.w.g. would also activate and stimulate our ecoeconomies with diversity. . . . 

* Invest and install immediately clean, renewable energy technology wherever possible to be connected to the w.w.g.. . . . . . especially solar and wind technology that make a great team together (one works while the other doesn't and visa versa). .. ..biofuels, hydrogen, hydrological, geothermal, pedagen (footsteps in the city activating energy production!), 

 

* Reducing need for energy 1) by using nature's processes to produce what humans think they need artificial, mechanical processes to produce (such as forests and green watersheds filtering water instead of costly artificial and mechanical water treatment plants) . . ...1a ( Humans often destroy natural systems and then build the artificial and mechanical to replace the functions of nature that they have just destroyed. . . . when humans could have had the vision to have protected nature's amazing logic and productivity in the first place) . . .. .. .2) bring nature's productivity into demanding urban centers to shorten the distances between nature's supplies and urban city's demands for filtered and cooled O2, air, H20, topsoil, green, food, shelter. ... . . . so that reduced needs can mean increased gains.. . . 3) increased satisfaction and ability to rest to make life more enjoyable

 

* Raising the standard of living from a rat race in dark, oily and deadly tunnels to pleasant walks in pleasant parks and waterfalls. .. .

 

 

* Develop an economy that values more than private cash of only 1%, that values the invaluable, the priceless impossible to count in cash . .. . .that values the logical as nature's logic impossible to count in cash.

* Green our cities with more energy efficient transportation systems and buildings and infrastructure that works together more efficiently, bringing green, productive ecological systems into our cities so that humans in cities don't need to suffer because urban walls and barriers of concrete and asphalt don't produce critical flows such as O2, filtered, cooled air, H2O, topsoil. .. ..  so that our cities can produce that in greenspaces that we bring into the city. . . . for heaven in the city. .. .

 

 

  • How can we effectively link energy issues to other development issues such as poverty reduction, food security, gender and climate change?

as we said at the beginning, the energy in all its manifestations (the électricté, heat, ...) is integral to all development. simply because it is the engine of any development and thus poverty reduction. Energy is also involved in the whole process of agricultural production (machinisation, processing, packaging and especially transport). Similarly, today, global warming is not a scientific hypothesis, it is a reality. yes, a sad reality in which energy plays an important role unfortunately notably through greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

also in African countries, energy consumption in homes especially for food remains a matter of women. I want to talk about all those women who do often Km walk in rural areas in search of firewood, I want to talk about the role of charcoal in our societies (particularly the economic role of women). it is important to note that any discussion on energy will inevitably impact on gender issues in our country.

 

Trampling the land, toxics and destructive use of resources as toxic forms of energy destroys the ability of nature's hidden genetic potentials to heal the earth, to grow cost-efficient gardens for eden again to enable humans to find easily the critcial flows of resources that they need to find "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. .. ". . . . . as it took more than 1000 years for lands to recover from the Roman Empire. ... . 


  • What specific roles should be the main stakeholders?
The most beautiful thing about clean, renewable forms of energy is its democratic nature, that even small producers can participate if the grid can calculate flows in and out and compensate producers for production. . . . . . enabling many to escape from poverty
Large utilities and energy companies do not need to worry about loss of income. . . . and can actually gain from production from many small sources. .. . .because humans have clearly demonstrated that humans are not interested in conserving energy. . . . and our world's population is growing from 7 to 10  billion persons (by 2050??). ... meaning that we need the most abunant production of energy possible to prevent global chaos and destruction.
All. .. . even ceos are stakeholders . .. .because even ceo's children need to live in this world.. . . . we cannot escape to any other worlds cost-effectively.   Nature on earth is the most cost-effient producer of the critical supplies for human health and happiness. . . .and we need to care for it, to nurture nature so nature can nurture us.

  - For our country, it's important that they define strategic plans including energy taking into account the specificities of our country in the south but also new environmental challenges.

*  ASAP immediately now yesterday to reduce risks for totalitarian destruction please. .. . . .thanks

Anonymous from
Fri, January 25, 2013 at 05.18 am

I strongly believe that energy should be continually integrated in the post-2015 framework, simply for the reason that achieving access to energy is still a far-away goal. Without total energy access for poor to meet consumptive and productive needs and for other developmental needs goals with regard to poverty, health, education, knowledge/information, dignity, lifestyle, etc. cannot be attained. Another aspect of “universal access to modern energy services” is quantification of minimum energy requirement for basic survival and human growth must be addressed. There is no point having a access enough for meals that are “half-cooked”. Therefore, the basic aim of UN’s initiative is to achieve 100% access to modern energy carries and services for all the population by 2030 must clearly define need, type and quantity of energy as well. It’s a difficult target but not unachievable.  

Some of the priority issues are

  1. ensuring proper weightage for appropriate energy solutions in terms of technology (off-grid versus on-grid, biomass versus LPG/electricity, etc.)
  2. implementation modality (participatory decentralised versus centralised supply, market based approach, etc.)   
  3. equitable and inclusive access is an issue often left on its own while embracing market approach, however, market approach tends to be more sustainable. Therefore, a regulated market approach should allow us to ensure equitable (rural versus urban, rich versus poor, etc.) and inclusive access (social, gender, etc.)   

When it comes to roles distinction among state, private sector and civil society, which are considered 3‑pillars bearing the development burden, must be clearly understood, defined and provided resources. There is nothing new when it comes to roles

  1. providing services (efficiently) is private sector domain.
  2. ensuring equity and inclusion and mobilizing resources generally a state or public sector domain.
  3. civil society’s role is to act as a watch-dog to see good governance, transparency and optimal use of resources are rule of the game.

 

Julie Larsen from
Fri, January 25, 2013 at 09.36 pm

Dear Vishwa,

Thank you for your contributions. Indeed, quantification requirements for basic survival and human growth were a challenge in the conception and monitoring of the Millennium Development Goals and will continue to be an important issue in the post-2015 development agenda deliberations.

You have succinctly described potential roles for three important actors - the private sector, the public sector and society at large. While each has distinct roles, I wonder if you have further thoughts on how they can work together constructively towards progress in achieving sustainable energy for all?

Kind regards,

Julie (dialogue facilitator)

Anonymous from
Sat, January 26, 2013 at 05.23 pm

Hi! Julie


While Public and Private sector might put the cause at the lower priority, civil society may take a lead in forging partnerships.


  • Advocating for policies supporting private sector to play active role in meeting requirements to ensure energy access

  • Exploring and experimenting innovative ways (business model) where private sector are shown the way to not only to the business but also help attain energy access for all and in sustainable basis (for private sector financial sustainability in the short run is as important as overall sustainability for the society as a whole).

There are more ways I guess, I leave it to others for the time being.

Balachandra Patil from
Mon, January 21, 2013 at 05.35 pm

I strongly think that energy should be fully integrated in the post-2015 framework. Energy deprivation is the most critical of the issues that needs emergency attention from all the influential stakeholders. Energy deprivation has bi-drirectional relationship with deprivations of income, health, education, knowledge/information, dignity, lifestyle, etc. Thus, the second objective “Ensuring universal access to modern energy services” of the UN’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative is critical for human development. I do not think the relationship between energy access and human development needs any further elaboration. Literature has abundant discussions on this linkage. The basic aim of UN’s initiative is to achieve 100% access to modern energy carries and services for all the population by 2030. Achieving this target is tough (may be even impossible) if we go by the lessons learnt from the past experiences. Unless strong and effective remedial measures are taken, and radically innovative pathways are adopted, there is a danger that even this initiative will tread the path followed by the past initiatives. Some of the critical issues, which require immediate attention, are as follows:

1. The programme implementation of the past as well as proposed, have followed a process, which is “prescriptive” rather than “participatory”. For example, technologies are prescribed, the types of institutions and policies are decided a priori, effectiveness of the implementation mechanisms is assumed to be known in advance. These are the typical reasons for experts deciding on technologies like improved cook stoves and solar home lighting systems as good for the poor. The perceptions of the users (the poor) are hardly taken into account in decision making. Providing such devices free of cost or at highly subsidised rates is assumed to result in guaranteed success. Development of local markets and skill-sets is largely ignored during implementation. Implementation is mostly carried out either by the government agencies or by the private sectors institutions (NGOs, external/international development agencies) with very limited local participation.

 

The best example is the Improved Cook-stoves programme of India. In 2002 itself, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) considered the national programme on improved cook-stoves (NPIC) a mega failure, and stopped funding. The programme was huge with about 35.2 million improved stoves disseminated across India till 2003. Many studies showed that the survival rates of stoves to be very low. Even during those times, there were no issues with the technologies of improved cook stoves (ICS), with zero smoke and energy efficiencies in the range of 30 to 50%. The new ICS technologies (though expensive), that are being disseminated or proposed to be disseminated at present (in several countries including India), have no significant improvements over the earlier ones. Therefore, the problems/challenges are not with ICS technologies. They are with respect to implementation, institutions, market structure/forces, individual behaviour, etc. In lab conditions (even rural households in small numbers can mimic lab conditions when controlled) almost all the improved cooked stoves have performed well (achieved all the set objectives). However, in real world, they have failed to deliver (at least in the Indian context, which I am reasonably familiar).  

2. Access-discrimination across urban-rural regions (even rich and poor) is the second most critical issue. Rural poor are provided with energy technologies (improved/efficient cook-stoves, solar PV or solar lighting systems, family-size biogas plants) whereas urban rich (or middle-class) are provided with energy carriers/services (electricity, gas). Rural poor are expected to “produce” their energy carriers. They are expected to have the necessary technical skills and know-how to operate, maintain and repair these technology-based devices. On the other hand, the urban rich can physically access the modern energy carriers by just “pressing the button” (for electricity) or “turning the knob” (piped gas) or “some-one delivers at their door-step” (bottled gas). The current/proposed energy access programmes (internationally) appear to still relying on this old diffusion pathway.

3. In this way, urban people behave and act like “consumers of energy services” whereas the rural people are forced to act or behave like “producer cum consumer of energy services”. This is one of the most critical factors, which has resulted in the failure of “technology-focused” energy access initiatives of the past (especially in India) both government-centric as well as NGO/Private sector centric programmes.

4. In this age of well informed rural population (access to information is easy, and affordable with the availability of TV, Radio and Mobile phones), the aspiration levels have climbed substantially, and their willingness to accept sub-standard services and technologies/devices has diminished significantly. They too prefer to have similar services, amenities, products, etc., that are being used/enjoyed by their urban counter parts.  

5. Mobile phone revolution in rural India is well known. No companies (mobile phone manufacturers and telecom service providers) have adopted rural-specific or poor-specific strategies for achieving this success. There are no rural cell phones using appropriate technologies; no discrimination between urban and rural services; mobile technologies are robust and can survive tough conditions; market is ever present and it is efficient as well as effective. The delivery models of energy technologies and services to rural areas have not adopted similar strategies.

In summary, any proposed programme for universal energy access needs to address challenges related to (i) participatory implementation process, (ii) discriminations related to technologies and kind of energy access, (iii) treating the rural energy users as “consumers of energy services” by delinking the complex process of technology handling and energy production, and finally (iv) developing a robust local market mechanism.

Julie Larsen from
Fri, January 25, 2013 at 09.30 pm

Dear Balachandra,

Thank you for including a practical example from India that helps to illuminate what happens when “prescriptive” rather than “participatory” approached are taken. Very useful.

Do share any examples or ideas around effective delivery models of energy technologies and services to rural areas. Also, I'd like to hear more about any ideas for developing robust local market mechanisms.

Very grateful for your contributions. Kind regards,

Julie (dialogue facilitator)

 

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