The global energy system faces three major strategic challenges in the coming decades: the growing risk of disruptions to energy supply; the threat of environmental damage caused by energy production and use; and persistent energy poverty.
The first two challenges have attracted a lot of attention from the energy-economics community, much less so the need to address the problem of energy under-development. On current trends, the number of people in poor countries relying primarily on traditional biomass for their energy needs will continue to rise, while the number lacking access to electricity will barely fall.
To change this course, decisive policy action is needed urgently as part of the broader process of human development. Meeting basic human needs, such as food and shelter, must be at the heart of any strategy to alleviate poverty.
The Energy Journal, Vol. 28, No. 3. Copyright ©2007 by the IAEE. All rights reserved.