The Top Ten Percent: “a clear indicator of deep and persistent global inequity”
… the poorest three-quarters of the global population still only use about ten percent of global energy – a clear indicator of deep and persistent global inequity. [Source.]
Working on a post today on oil policy for the U.S./Middle East topic, I discuss the green-energy tilt of the International Energy Agency (IEA) (Falling Oil Prices Upend Middle East Policies and International Energy Agency Agendas).
I argue IEA “decarbonization” policy is unfair to the billions of people worldwide who still lack access to reliable electricity. Solar power can help rural poor power their cell phones and evening reading lights, even small refrigerators for drugs. But Swedish statistician Hans Rosling asks about the five billion people still living below the “Wash line,” lacking electricity to power washing machines. And across the developing world, it is woman that wash the family clothes.
Green energy “decarbonization” policies promoted by the IEA block, tax, or regulate modern hydrocarbon energy sources (coal, oil, and gas), leaving the world’s poor to burn polluting wood and dung. Indoor air pollution from cooking is a leading cause of death in the developing world. According to this NPR story and WHO report:
Air pollution has become the world’s largest environmental risk, killing an estimated 7 million people in 2012, the World Health Organization says.
That means about 1 out of every 8 deaths in the world each year is due to air pollution. And half of those deaths are caused by household stoves, according to the WHO report published Tuesday.
The fumes from stoves that burn coal, wood, dung and leftover crop residues as primary cooking fuels contribute to heart disease, stroke, lung cancer and respiratory infections.
Our distinctly uncomfortable starting place is that the poorest three-quarters of the global population still only use about ten percent of global energy – a clear indicator of deep and persistent global inequity. Because modern energy supply is foundational for economic development, the international development and diplomatic community has rightly placed the provision of modern energy services at the center of international attention focused on a combined agenda of poverty eradication and sustainable development. [Source.]
Europeans, Americans, and others in developed countries have the wealth and economic freedom to install solar energy on their homes and pay for electricity from distant windmills. But when wealthy environmentalists stretch their preferences to lobby against less-expensive fossil fuel electricity they reduce access and raise costs for those with the lowest incomes and energy options.