Reducing fossil fuel emissions to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius or less means that a huge amount of proven fossil fuel reserves will need to stay in the ground. A new Oxfam America Research Backgrounder by Professor Simon Caney of Oxford rightly proposes that, in considering which assets will be “stranded” (left in the ground), priority for extracting these fossil fuels should somehow be given to the poorest countries/people. But while poor countries should get priority when it comes to selling fossil fuels, when it comes to using them, they should be viewed as an energy source of last resort, after alternatives have been seriously explored.
At this time of the year, sparkling trees and decorated lawns have taken over. A 2008 study from the US Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) found that decorative seasonal lights accounted for 6.6 billion kilowatt hours of electricity consumption every year in the United States. That’s just 0.2% of the country’s total electricity usage, but it could run 14 million refrigerators. It’s also more than the national electricity consumption of many developing countries, such as El Salvador, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Nepal, or Cambodia.
Why should global development policy be important to the next US President? This is what we’re asking in today’s CGD Podcast. And what should the next administration do to make sure the US retains and reinforces its influence with developing nations?
We need to get ready for a world of a whole lot more energy. Recognizing and embracing this reality is a more practical starting point for meeting the development and environmental challenges that we face. That’s the bottom-line of Our High Energy Planet, a report by an eclectic mix of thirteen authors released today by the Breakthrough Institute and Arizona State University.
This week’s Wonkcast consists of testimony that Todd Moss, CGD senior fellow and COO, recently offered to the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power about energy access in the 21st Century.
In what was perhaps another sign that the challenge of energy poverty is finding a voice in Congress, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power held a hearing recently on electricity access in the 21st Century.