News / Science & Technology

Earth Summit Strives for Energy for All

Giant wind turbines dot the landscape at the Darling Wind Power national demonstration project near Cape Town. Giant wind turbines dot the landscape at the Darling Wind Power national demonstration project near Cape Town.
x
Giant wind turbines dot the landscape at the Darling Wind Power national demonstration project near Cape Town.
Giant wind turbines dot the landscape at the Darling Wind Power national demonstration project near Cape Town.
Zulima Palacio
More than 130 world leaders are expected to gather in Rio de Janeiro next month for the summit, which is also referred to as "Rio+20," a nod to the 20th anniversary of the original Rio Summit. The goal of the meeting is to secure political commitment toward sustainable development and energy, as well as addressing new and emerging challenges.

Nearly two billion people, about one-third of the world’s population, don't have access to energy, according to the United Nations.  

At a preview of the summit, at the non-profit Center for Global Development in Washington, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the best way to fight poverty is through energy. But he cautioned the earth has limited resources.

“We are using 1.3 times more than we have," Ban said. "If you have to spend 1.3 times more than your salary, what would happen to the whole economy? What would happen to the companies? They will all bankrupt."

UN Earth Summit Strives for Energy for Alli
|| 0:00:00
X
Zulima Palacio
May 15, 2012 2:26 PM
Nearly two billion people, about one-third of the world’s population, don't have access to energy, according to the United Nations. So the leading goal for the upcoming 2012 United Nations Earth Summit is “energy for all” by the year 2030, mostly from renewable and sustainable resources. VOA's Zulima Palacio reports.

Renewable energy is crucial and yet currently only represents 16 percent of the world's energy, according to Ban. That has to change, he said, especially since the burning of fossil fuels has a direct impact on climate change.

“Without addressing climate change properly, as soon as possible, like by 2020, then we’ll be heading to almost a tipping point of this planet earth," he said. "This is a slowly approaching threat to our world, to our future.”

Another issue is the current imbalance of energy consumption.  While developing nations use large amounts of energy, many underdeveloped countries in Africa and Asia have few energy resources at all.  

“If in the U.S. every person were to consume 10 kilowatt hours, 10 units of energy less per month, which is not a lot, that could save 4,000 megawatts of generation capacity," said Vijay Iyer, the World Bank's director of Energy, "which is the combined demand today of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda.”

But to accomplish the goal of energy for all, Iyer said, the world needs to increase today’s annual investment of $9 billion to $45 billion a year, which presents a difficult challenge.  

Ban said the political will of world leaders will be decisive in achieving the goals of Rio + 20, most especially that of U.S. President Barack Obama.  

“President Obama’s role will be crucial again, as the number one world’s economy, as the most powerful and leadership country, we count on the United States,” Ban said.

It's not known yet whether Obama will attend the summit. Ban said he hopes the president will participate, right after the G20 summit meeting in Mexico.

You May Like

As AIDS Epidemic Matures, Workplaces Adapt

Issue of AIDS in workplace is one of many social issues being discussed at the 20th International Aids Conference in Australia More

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid