The International Energy Agency has issued a report for the United Nations Millennium Development Goals meeting in New York that linked the eradication of the worst poverty in the world with access to energy resources, the New York Times reported today. The IEA said $36 billion a year was needed to help access to electric supplies and "clean-burning cooking facilities" over the next two decades to pull 395 million people out of poverty.
Fatih Birol, the IEA's chief economist, was quoted as saying: "Without electricity, social and economic development is much more difficult. Addressing sanitation, clean water, hunger — these goals can't be met without providing access to energy." Wrote the Times: "Without a concerted international effort, it's unlikely that the problem will be solved, because markets alone won't address it. Companies are reluctant to invest in many areas because the return is not guaranteed, he said, so seed money is needed from wealthier countries."
New York Times, Sept. 22