|Energy after Rio - Prospects and Challenges - Executive Summary (UNDP, 1997, 38 p.)|
|2. Energy and Major Global Issues|
In this chapter, the linkages between energy and social, environmental, economic and security issues have been demonstrated. Most present trends in energy indicate a deteriorating situation. Furthermore, current energy patterns are aggravating this process by an over-preoccupation with centralised energy supply and fossil fuels to the detriment of energy efficiency, decentralised supply and renewable energy. The development of the world energy system at large continues along the trends established before Rio. In other words, major global problems are making the world more and more unsustainable and business-as-usual energy patterns and conventional approaches to energy are contributing to this unsustainability.
current energy patterns contribute to unsustainability
Thus, any attempt to tackle the social, environmental, economic and security issues as done by the UN conferences must pay full attention to their energy aspects. Energy strategies, policies, programmes and projects must contribute to, and be consistent with, the solution of major global issues. Energy issues must be tackled in such a way that the other problems are not aggravated. On the contrary, energy policies which provide a better balance between conventional sources and renewables and efficiency improvements will have powerful direct, and indirect, influences on solving many of the global issues identified.
energy must be viewed as a means of contributing to the solution of major global problems
Energy needs to be looked at with an end-use orientation, an energy service viewpoint. The traditional supply-side approach alone does not adequately consider the opportunities and potentialities arising from changes in energy demand, improvements in energy efficiency, shifts from traditional to modern energy sources, dissemination of new technologies, etc. What is important now is to take an integrated systems approach, giving attention to technological and institutional innovations on both the demand and supply sides.
Energy must be viewed, therefore, as a means of contributing to the solution of major global problems. In fact, the global goal for energy can be stated very simply: sustainable development of the world. Energy must be an instrument for the achievement of sustainable development.
energy must be an instrument for the achievement of sustainable development
This implies that energy strategies and policies should satisfy five fundamental criteria: economic efficiency, equity (particularly for the poor, women and those located in remote areas), empowerment/self-reliance, environmental soundness and peace. Together, these components can be taken as a measure of sustainable development.