Poverty Alleviation for Asia (SEPAA)
There are about two billion people in the world who live in various degrees of poverty, including lack of access to reliable, affordable and environmentally acceptable modern energy services. They are primarily the rural populations of developing countries. The "World Energy Assessment: Energy and the Challenge of Sustainability", has this to say about it:
"Despite...enormous efforts to improve energy services to rural populations in the past 20-30 years, the unserved population has remained about the same in absolute numbers-2 billion people."
"...probably the most serious energy problem confronting humanity in the near future, rural energy (still) remains low in the list of priorities of most government and corporate planners."
"...the increased demands of the more influential (and rapidly growing) urban population will make it more difficult to keep rural development on the agenda."
There are striking comparisons to keep in mind. The poorest two billion people in the world use only 0.2 toe of energy per capita annually, whereas the billion richest people use 5 toe, or nearly 25 times as much. Taking another measure of inequality, the richest 20% use 75% of all electricity, while the poorest 20% use less than 3%. The poorest have historically used the least energy; however, they will be the most vulnerable to and affected by the impacts of climate change. The statistics invite unfair perceptions.
As a first principle, therefore, reaching out for poverty alleviation should mean lifting up, not leveling down. Lack of energy services and poverty are closely related and also closely related are poverty and impacts of climate change. Therefore, no initiative can work in isolation and integrated thinking is a must in order to achieve sustainable Energy Poverty Alleviation.continue >