Chair, World Energy Assessment
Energy is central to achieving the interrelated economic,
social, and environmental aims of sustainable human development. But if we are
to realise this important goal, the kinds of energy we produce and the ways we
use them will have to change. Otherwise, environmental damage will accelerate,
inequity will increase, and global economic growth will be jeopardised.
We cannot simply ignore the energy needs of the 2 billion people
who have no means of escaping continuing cycles of poverty and deprivation. Nor
will the local, regional, and global environmental problems linked to
conventional ways of using energy go away on their own. Other challenges
confront us as well: the high prices of energy supplies in many countries, the
vulnerability to interruptions in supply, and the need for more energy services
to support continued development.
The World Energy Assessment affirms that solutions to these
urgent problems are possible, and that the future is much more a matter of
choice than destiny By acting now to embrace enlightened policies, we can create
energy systems that lead to a more equitable, environmentally sound, and
economically viable world.
But changing energy systems is no simple matter. It is a complex
and long-term process - one that will require major and concerted efforts by
governments, businesses, and members of civil society. Consensus on energy
trends and needed changes in energy systems can accelerate this process.
The World Energy Assessment was undertaken, in part, to build
consensus on how we can most effectively use energy as a tool for sustainable
development. Its analysis shows that we need to do more to promote energy
efficiency and renewables, and to encourage advanced technologies that offer
alternatives for clean and safe energy supply and use. We also need to help
developing countries find ways to avoid retracing the wasteful and destructive
stages that have characterised industrialisation in the past.
Considerable work by many individuals went into this
publication, and my hope is that it contributes to a more equitable, prosperous,