Half of the world’s population uses solid fuel, such as wood, charcoal, or dung, for cooking. According to the World Health Organization, 1.6 million women & children die each year as a result of indoor smoke inhalation, more than from malaria.

UN Group Urges Renewed Effort to Increase Energy Access through Public-Private Partnership

If you are reading this article, you most likely have electricity and heat at home and never think of that fact as at all remarkable. But over 2 billion people – one in three people on our planet – have no access to modern energy to light and heat the dwellings in which they live. The deadline for delivering universal energy access is 2030.

The obstacles to energy access are not technical. We know how to build power systems, design modern cooking stoves, and meet energy demand efficiently. What is missing is a global commitment to move energy access up the political and development agendas.

Half of the world’s population uses solid fuel, such as wood, charcoal, or dung, for cooking. According to the World Health Organization, 1.6 million women and children die each year as a result of indoor smoke inhalation, more than from malaria. Add the pollutant emissions from such stoves, together with the deforestation that results from using firewood, and you have several pressing global challenges that can be tackled at once by closing the energy gap.

Efforts to close this gap have so far been insufficient in scale and scope, but a plan of action now exists, developed in recent months by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Advisory Group on Energy and Climate Change (AGECC). The Group brings together top UN officials and business executives, including from Edison International, Statoil, Suntech Holdings, and Vattenfall.

Through this innovative public-private partnership, we analyzed global energy access and recommended in our resulting report that the international community commit to universal access to modern energy services by 2030. The report also called for a 40% reduction in global energy intensity by 2030, which, if implemented, would reduce global energy intensity at approximately double the historical rate.

AGECC is now working on how best to deliver on the plan. This was the focus of the Group’s last meeting, held on July 15 in Mexico City. It was hosted by the Carlos Slim Foundation, which works in support of implementing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in such areas as health, deforestation, and closing the digital divide.

Mexico will be the location for key UN climate talks later this year, and AGECC is interacting with the country’s energy ministry to ensure a coordinated and effective approach.

Read more here.