IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007
Climate Change 2007: Working Group III: Mitigation of Climate Change

4.2.4 Implications of sustainable development and energy access

Analysis from 125 countries indicated that well-being and level of development correlate with the degree of modern energy services consumed per capita in each country (Bailis et al., 2005) (Figure 4.7).


Figure 4.7: Global annual energy consumption per capita by region (toe/capita).

Lack of energy access frustrates the aspirations of many developing countries (OECD, 2004a). Without improvement, the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of halving the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day by 2015 (UN, 2000) will be difficult to meet. Achieving this target implies a need for increased access to electricity and expansion of modern cooking and heating fuels for millions of people in developing countries mainly in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa (IEA, 2005a). Historical electricity access rates of 40 million people per annum in the 1980s and 30 million per annum in the 1990s suggest that current efforts to achieve the MDGs will need to be greatly exceeded. By 2030, around 2400 GW of new power plant capacity will be needed in developing countries (100 GW/yr), which, together with the necessary infrastructure, will require around 5 trillion US$ investment (IEA, 2006b).

Ecological implications of energy supply result from coal and uranium mining, oil extraction, oil and gas transport, deforestation, erosion and river-flow disturbance. Certain synergetic effects can be achieved between renewable energy generation and ecological values such as reforestation and landscape structural improvements, but these are relatively minor.