Universal energy access: can we make it sustainable?

Briefing papers
September 2015
Ilmi Granoff; James Ryan Hogarth

We must improve the quality and quantity of energy consumed by billions of people without access, while at the same time rapidly decarbonising the world’s energy systems, responsible for 72.8% of GHG emissions globally. To achieve zero net emissions economy-wide by 2100, the world’s electricity supply must be decarbonised by as soon as 2050.

This policy brief resolves this apparent paradox. It shows that universal energy access would largely be a win-win for the climate and poverty.

Corrections and clarifications

On 19/10/2015 a sentence (in brackets) was added to page 2 to follow the following text - “Energy poverty remains remarkably widespread. Globally, 1.3 billion people lack basic access to electricity, and 2.7 billion lack access to clean and safe energy for household cooking. Most of these people are in sub-Saharan Africa and developing Asia" (These numbers are based on IEA (2014b) data. The good news is that SE4All (2015) found that those lacking electricity declined to 1.1 billion). The following reference was also added - "SE4All (2015). Global Tracking Framework. Washington, DC: Sustainable Energy for All."


On 20/10/2015 The new sentence was amended with bold and underline as follows (The numbers in this brief are based on IEA (2014b) data to align with IEA data about on-/off-grid costs. The good news is that SE4All (2015) found that those lacking electricity declined to 1.1 billion).”

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