The price of power

Linked with nef The New Economics Foundation.

download the 40 pages pdf: The price of power, Poverty, climate change, the coming energy crisis and the renewable revolution.


  • Overview and summary 2
  • Climate shock and ending poverty: pulling the rug
  • on the millennium developmentgoals 5
  • Energy shock and ending poverty 8
  • Perverse incentives and dirty energy 13
  • Clean energy and ending poverty 17
  • New energy solutions 30
  • Endnotes 34

Some excerpts: …

… Towards the end of the millennium eight ambitious targets were agreed to tackle poverty and, to a much lesser degree, promote sustainable development. They were mostly to be achieved between now and the year 2015 …
… But in early 2004, two of the driving forces behind the goals conceded defeat. Britain’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, who also chairs the International Monetary Fund’s key committee, and the President of the World Bank, James Wolfensohn, jointly penned an article that showed how we were drifting away from meeting the targets rather than closing in on them. In particular, they showed that Sub-Saharan Africa was more than a century off-target to meet its goals of expanding primary education, cutting child mortality and halving poverty …
… Renewable energy: the missing link Energy is the neglected issue of the development debate. Renewable energy is the great, barely tapped solution to the two great challenges of the coming century – poverty and global warming. Not only can renewable energy provide a clean, flexible power source for homes, schools and hospitals, at the micro-to-medium scale it has huge potential to create meaningful and useful jobs. By literally taking control of their own power supply, marginalised communities and marginalised people within communities can also be empowered. In this way renewable energy provides immediate improvements to people’s lives, but it also gives a key to a different roots-up model of human development in which people are more in control of their own lives and livelihoods.

This report reveals that:

  • - One year’s worth of global fossil fuel subsidies could comfortably pay off Sub-Saharan Africa’s entire international debt burden with billions left over.
  • - At the moment, only one to three per cent out of the $40 billion spent annually on energy investment in developing countries goes towards renewables.
  • - All of non-electrified Sub-Saharan Africa could be provided with energy from small-scale solar facilities for less than 70 per cent of what OECD countries spend on subsidising dirty energy every year.
  • - By spending just five per cent of their total annual overseas aid budget on clean-technology stoves for poor households, OECD nations could help save over 25 million lives over the next decade.
  • - One year’s worth ofWorld-Bank spending on fossil fuel projects, if redirected to small-scale solar installations in Sub-Saharan Africa, could provide 10 million people on the continent with electricity.
  • - The annual amount tied to investments in coal, oil and gas projects in the developing world between 1992 and 2002 by the United States’ twin export guarantee agencies could have provided over 30 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa each year with solar electricity.

Whether to do with health or education, poverty or environmental sustainability, none of the international development targets can be hit, or stay hit, without the massive expansion of renewable energy world wide.

This report shows both the scale of the challenge, and the enormous potential facing us … (Go on to read this 40 pages).

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