Tuesday, February 28, 2012

International Workshop on "Energy Poverty and Access to Energy in Developing Countries" - March 12-13, Venice, Italy

Reducing energy poverty in the developing world is a necessary condition to promote its economic and social development. No global target is currently in place to tackle this specific problem, and so far only national efforts have been devoted to this momentous task. As a result 1.3 billion people still lack access to electricity and 2.7 billion people rely mainly on traditional biomass.

Extending energy access entails two main issues and their related implications: (i) switching from biomass use to more efficient fuels would avoid the negative externalities of indoor pollution and reduce the time devoted to wood collection; (ii) the diffusion of electricity would generate positive effects on health, education and labour productivity.

In addition, the approach adopted to promote energy access should be compatible with sustainable development. Although on one side the reduced reliance on biomass would relieve the pressure on natural resources, on the other side an uncontrolled use of fossil fuels could determine a dramatic increase in CO2 emissions. Clean energy technologies are thus required to meet the dual need of reducing energy poverty while limiting the impact on the environment.

For this purpose, it is urgent to improve the tools to measure energy poverty, to better understand the determinants and future prospects of energy access, and to design better policies learning from past pitfalls.

The Workshop will address the bi-directional relationship between energy access and poverty reduction, starting from the possible definitions of energy poverty, reviewing the common measurement approaches and highlighting the facts behind the current situation.

Furthermore, the future paths for the diffusion of modern energy sources will be explored, paying particular attention to the extent to which energy access would rely on fossil fuels or on alternative technologies. Indeed, in addition to the assessment of energy access contribution to poverty alleviation, it is worth considering how the adoption of different energy mixes could determine a more sustainable development.

Finally, the Workshop will analyze future policy perspectives, and the contribution of climate finance to enhance energy access.

***The programme of the workshop is available here.

The workshop is open to a selected audience.

Ughetta Molin Fop
Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei

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