This week’s climate summit in Paris will be filled with talk of ways to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. That’s an important discussion for sure, but it’s one that should focus on achievable, real-world initiatives. A couple of starting points for an action agenda:
The first is an acknowledgement – that the availability of safe, reliable energy is fundamental to lifting people – and entire nations – from poverty. United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called energy the “the golden thread that connects economic growth, social equity, and environmental sustainability.” With the International Energy Agency telling us that more than a billion people around the world don’t have electricity, it would be a mistake for the Paris summit to do anything that impedes or blocks access to energy. The world needs more energy, not less.
The second point a realization by the summiteers that private markets, not command-and-control government interventions, offer the best avenue to advance climate objectives while growing energy supplies – progress without hamstringing economies and hindering individual opportunity. API President and CEO Jack Gerard:
“More than a billion people around the world lack access to electricity and face a daily challenge for adequate food and education, clean water, protection from heat and cold and efficient transportation. To rise out of poverty and enjoy the health and safety many Americans take for granted, these developing nations need more energy, not less.”
Yes, we can do both: We can pursue climate goals and increase production of the energy that plays a large role in ameliorating poverty – the same energy that powers economies and supports modern daily living. We must do both.
Without safe, reliable energy life’s a struggle. Energy is essential for clean water, to heat and cool homes and to safely prepare a warm meal. Energy means mobility – transportation and also the ability to improve one’s standing in society. Energy is linked to life itself. Look at the way the increase in global life expectancy …
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