In 2011, the UN General Assembly established three global energy objectives to be accomplished by 2030: to ensure universal access to modern energy services (including electricity and clean, modern cooking solutions); to double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency; and to double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix. Known as the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) initiative, its progress is being charted by the Global Tracking Framework – a multi-agency effort led by the International Energy Agency and the World Bank.
So how are we going? According to an IEA-led report published today, the world has made some major advances on the energy front in the last 20 years, but this effort has been largely undercut by rapid demographic and economic growth (see chart below).
The main message from the report, however, is that we could be – and should be – doing a whole lot better. For example, the report shows a population four times the size of the US still lives without access to electricity, and fossil fuels still account for more than 80 per cent of the world’s energy mix, despite the need to . Most importantly, the report warns that the achievement of the global SE4ALL objectives will not be possible without major progress in what it classes as “high-impact” and “fast-moving” countries.
As can be seen in the above chart, two overlapping groups of 20 high impact countries in Asia and Africa account for about two-thirds of the global electrification deficit and four-fifths of the global deficit in access to non-solid fuels. “Meeting the universal access objective globally will depend critically on the progress that can be made in these countries,” says the report. A third group of 20 high-income and emerging economies accounts for four-fifths of global energy consumption. “Thus, the achievement of the global SE4ALL objectives for renewable energy and energy efficiency will not be possible without major progress in these high-impact countries.”