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

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid