Energy indicators can help achieve sustainable development goals – UN report
Energy indicators for sustainable development represent an important component in national planning, says a new report analyzing results in seven countries that was issued today by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
The report, “Energy Indicators for Sustainable Development: Country Studies on Brazil, Cuba, Lithuania, Mexican, Russian Federation, Slovakia and Thailand,” was launched in New York today at the UN Commission on Sustainable Development which is focusing on energy, climate change, air pollution and industrial development.
The 463-page volume presents examples of how energy indicators – such as energy use per capita, share of renewable energy, share of households without electricity, per-capita greenhouse-gas emissions from energy production and use – are developed at the national level, how they can be used to assess national energy systems and how they assist in reviewing the effectiveness of policies undertaken or planned.
Analytical tools such as energy indicators can be helpful in finding the best solutions in a menu of available options, the report says. Countries can adapt the indicators to suit national energy characteristics and use them as a versatile tool for analyzing different energy policies, with respect to their social, economic, environmental and institutional dimensions.
In the Russian Federation, for example, an assessment using energy indicators revealed that the current energy situation and the effectiveness of energy policies in recent years are far from sustainable. The indicators highlighted the need for greater attention to environmental impacts and the needs of the poor, as well as necessary measures for the transport sector and for overcoming barriers impeding greater energy efficiency.
In Thailand, the application of indicators proved to be a useful tool for analyzing energy efficiency, affordability and accessibility. Focusing on energy use by the poor, the indicators revealed that progress had been made in extending the electricity grid and encouraging more efficient cooking stoves.
Energy continues to pose a fundamental dilemma for sustainable development: While energy production and use are necessary to alleviate poverty, promote economic growth and foster social development, they can place stress on human health, the atmosphere and the natural environment.