UN: 1.6 Billion People Still Have No Access To Electricity

New York - The United Nations called Monday for a clean energy revolution that would provide electricity to the world population, including the 1.6 billion people who currently have no access to it.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in an address to the Fourth World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi that energy provisions can help fight poverty and improve health care services as part of the Millennium Development Goals for the developing world.

'Our challenge is transformation,' Ban said. 'We need a global clean energy revolution - a revolution that makes energy available and affordable for all,' he said.

An energy revolution would entail cutting back dependence on fossil fuels, minimizing climate change, and empowering people to take care of their lives and improve the world economy, he said.

Energy consumption is expected to increase by 40 per cent over the next 20 years, mostly in developing countries where billions of people still rely on the traditional biomass fuels for cooking, heating and other basic daily needs, Ban said.

The use of biomass fuels and coal in poor regions of the world has resulted in indoor air pollution, which kills an estimated 2 million people a year, most of them women and children. That death toll is twice the number of malaria-related deaths worldwide.

Biomass fuels and coal are traditional energy commodities for some 3 billion people out of the world population of 6.8 billion.

The UN praised Abu Dhabi authorities for their Masdar Initiative, which is a project showcasing a sustainable and clean-energy future in the city of Masdar. The UAE government funded the project to transform Masdar into a green community.