Energy poverty news: Rio+20: June 19

Here’s a quick round-up of other items overhanging from yesterday:

Reports from the main political negotiations suggest that discussion on the Energy section was confined to the issue of fossil fuel subsidies. We must deduce that the text on universal access and on the Sustainable Energy For All initiative remains as discussed here on Sunday.


Here are two interesting position statements on energy that I hadn’t come across before. The first, from the European Union, is impressive in its vision of “energy access as a top priority in international and national agendas” and in stressing that “sustainable energy for gender equality is essential.”

Oxfam’s media briefing contains the best political analysis of the Sustainable Energy For All initiative that I have seen. It wanders off tangent into oil prices and subsidies but hits all the tough questions on governance and on the relationship with the Rio+20 agreement. There’s an arresting conclusion that “SE4All will do better outside the formal negotiations than in.”


However much maligned, the High-level Group continues its work, yesterday launching recommendations by the Practitioner Network, a sprawling collection of about 300 organisations tasked with bringing their skills to bear on the energy goals.

There’s an IISD report of the proceedings here (scroll down the page). Supermodel Gisele Bündchen appeared in spirit only, featuring in a series of videos released by the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves. The Alliance YouTube channel is probably the easiest place to access these.


Cookstoves also feature in an important article in National Geographic. Co-authored by the Executive Director of the Global Alliance, Radha Muthiah, and researchers from MIT, J-PAL and Harvard, it’s an honest examination true to the headline “Clean Cookstoves Must Be Rethought so They Actually Get Used in Developing World.” There will be no turning back for the Cookstoves project but there’s much talk of “new innovative research.”

On a lighter note, a notice of a volunteer opportunity at the BURN Design lab offers a taste of what lies in store in cookstove research:

“Can you repeatedly execute the same activity over and over again until obtaining optimum results?”

That reminds me of UN climate change conferences.


this article was first published by OneWorld UK