After Rio+20: still more work to be done for the energy future we need

11th Jul 2012
Milton Catelin, Chief Executive, WCA

World Coal Association calls for more action on energy access following Rio+20.

The World Coal Association (WCA) today called for broader and more wide-ranging aspirations for the UN Secretary General’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative. In the aftermath of the Rio+20 conference, the WCA says the future Sustainable Development Goals must include energy access targets to address the challenge of energy poverty.

The final outcome of the Rio+20 conference was a 53-page statement - “The future we want”. Milton Catelin, Chief Executive of the WCA commented: “The final outcome text was a disappointment on many levels but an improvement on the original text released earlier this year. It still lacks ambition by failing to include energy access targets but at least there is some recognition that renewable energy sources are not the only path to achieving global energy access objectives.”

With no clear call for action to improve energy access and no solid statement on how the international community can work together to deliver energy for all, the outcome document focuses on patchwork solutions for energy access rather than achieving the scale needed to address energy poverty for households and provide reliable access for business, industry and social infrastructure.

The most significant outcome from Rio+20 is the proposed Sustainable Development Goals. WCA believes that these goals must include explicit targets for energy access and the investments needed to achieve them. WCA also says the UN Secretary-General’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative, which will report later this year, must recognise the range of energy solutions that can be deployed dependent on national circumstances.

In addition to small-scale solutions for lighting and cooking, Mr Catelin said: “This report must also look further. It must look to longer term and broader solutions about providing grid-based electricity that will not only provide reliable and consistent access to households, but also to business and industry and to support stronger social infrastructure such as schools and hospitals. In many countries coal based electricity will be essential to achieving that.”