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close this bookEnergy after Rio - Prospects and Challenges - Executive Summary (UNDP, 1997, 38 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentAcknowledgments
View the documentForeword
View the documentNotes on the Authors and Contributors
View the documentAbstract
View the document1. Introduction
close this folder2. Energy and Major Global Issues
View the document(introduction...)
close this folder2.1 Energy and Social Issues
View the document2.1.1 Poverty
View the document2.1.2 Gender Disparity
View the document2.1.3 Population
View the document2.1.4 Undernutrition and Food
close this folder2.2 Energy and Environment
View the document2.2.1 Health
View the document2.2.2 Acidification
View the document2.2.3 Climate Change
View the document2.2.4 Land Degradation
close this folder2.3 Energy and the Economy
View the document(introduction...)
View the document2.3.1 Investment Requirements of Energy
View the document2.3.2 Foreign Exchange Impacts of Energy Imports
close this folder2.4 Energy and Security
View the document(introduction...)
View the document2.4.1 Energy and National Security
View the document2.4.2 Nuclear Energy and Nuclear Weapons Proliferation
View the document2.5 Energy and Global Issues: The Implications
close this folder3. New Opportunities in Energy Demand, Supply and Systems
View the document3.1 Introduction
View the document3.2 Demand Side: Energy and Energy-Intensive Materials Efficiency
View the document3.3 Supply Side: Renewables and Clean Fossil Fuel Technologies
View the document3.4 Fuels and Stoves for Cooking
close this folder4. Sustainable Strategies
View the document4.1 Global Energy Scenarios
View the document4.2 Implications for the Developing World
View the document4.3 Implications for Energy Exporting Economies
close this folder4.4 Some General Implications of Sustainable Energy Systems
View the document4.4.1 Energy and the Economy
View the document4.4.2 Energy and Poverty
View the document4.4.3 Creating Jobs
View the document4.4.4 Women
View the document4.4.5 Rural Development
View the document4.4.6 Urban Development
View the document4.4.7 Energy and the Environment
View the document4.4.8 Energy and Security
View the document4.5 Conclusions
View the document5. Making It Happen: Energy for Sustainable Development
View the documentGlossary of Abbreviations

2.5 Energy and Global Issues: The Implications

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.