Jun 022013
Population growth erodes sustainable energy gains – UN report Source: – Fri, 31 May 2013 02:58 PMAuthor: Laurie Goering LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The world has made important progress towards improving energy efficiency, using more renewable sources of power and providing basic electricity to every household over the last two decades. But the gains have barely been enough to keep up with population growth and surging energy demand and are far short of what is needed to curb climate change, a new UN-backed energy report suggests. In the last 10 years, 1.7 billion people around the world gained access to electricity. But the world’s population grew by 1.6 billion over that same period, nearly wiping out the gains. Similarly, rising energy demand effectively eliminated half the energy efficiency savings and 70 percent of the gains from growth in renewable energy over the past decade. “Even to stand still, we have to run extremely fast. That’s the challenge,” said Vivien Foster, a sustainable energy leader at the World Bank and one of the lead authors of the Global Tracking Framework report, released on Friday. Based on household survey data from 180 countries around the world, the report examines progress over the last 20 years towards three sustainable energy goals the United Nations Secretary General has set for 2030: universal access to electricity and fuel sources other than firewood or dung for cooking; a doubling of renewable energy as a share of global energy use; and a doubling of the annual rate of improvement in energy efficiency. About 70 countries around the world have signed up to try to meet the “Sustainable Energy for All” goals. The report – the first to track progress on such goals – aims to drive better policy on sustainable energy as well as to support the inclusion of energy issues in new sustainable development goals (SDGs), which are expected to be adopted next year to replace the expiring Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). 1.2 BILLION WITHOUT ELECTRICITY Access to clean and sustainable energy remains an enormous problem around the world, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Globally 1.2 billion people have no access to electricity and 2.8 billion cook with firewood and other “solid fuels” that can cause health problems and that help fuel widespread deforestation. The problem is worst in rural areas, but experts are particularly concerned about cities, where virtually all of the expected (more…)
Apr 302011
Huffington Post Green Erik Rasmussen CEO, Monday Morning, Founder, Green Growth Leaders Posted: 04/12/11 11:11 AM ET   Every minute, 15 children die from drinking dirty water. Every time you eat a hamburger, you consume 2400 liters of the planet’s fresh water resources — that is the amount of water needed to produce one hamburger. Today poor people are dying from lack of water, while rich people are consuming enormous amounts of water. This water paradox illustrates that we are currently looking at a global water conflict in the making. We are terrifyingly fast consuming one of the most important and perishable resources of the planet — our water. Global water use has tripled over the last 50 years. The World Bank reports that 80 countries now have water shortages with more than 2.8 billion people living in areas of high water stress. This is expected to rise to 3.9 billion — more than half of the world’s population — by 2030 in a ‘business as usual’-scenario. The status as of today is sobering: the planet is facing a ‘water bankruptcy’ and we are facing a gloomy future where the fight for the ‘blue gold’ is king. The growing water scarcity is a primary driver for insecurity, instability and conflicts and is currently setting the stage for future water wars — unless global action is taken. This was the main message from a report released last month from the US Senate “Avoiding Water Wars: Water Scarcity and Central Asia’s Growing Importance for Stability in Afghanistan and Pakistan”. The report warned of coming water wars in Central and South Asia due to water scarcity and predicted that it “will be felt all over the world”. A looming crisis As little as 0.75 percent of the total water available on earth is accessible fresh water. These 0.75 percent are perhaps the world’s most important resource. Our global economy, our industries and our everyday life runs on this water. But fresh water is a finite and vulnerable resource. In some places, like parts of North America and Europe, water is plentiful, but in most parts of the world the water resources are under stress due to a growing imbalance between a mounting demand for water and shrinking water reserves. This means that large parts of the world are running out of water. Sana — the capital of Yemen — is likely to be the first capital (more…)