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Sustainable Energy for All: this year, next year, sometime – or never?

Lara J Carim27 November 2012

West Yorkshire wind turbines (by
nulabugeye on Flickr)

Liberal Democrat Energy Minister Ed Davey’s clash with his Conservative deputy John Hayes over the future of wind turbines earlier this month demonstrates how topical and divisive the sustainable energy agenda can be.

Despite the issue’s current high media profile, a quick show of hands at the start of Professor Paul Ekins’ Lunch Hour Lecture on 20 November illustrated that there is little public awareness of 2012 as UN International Year of Sustainable Energy for All – even among an audience with an interest in the topic.

Undeterred, Ekins, who is Professor of Resources and Environmental Policy and Director of the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources, immediately set out in stark terms why sustainable energy is “a huge issue”: 1.3 billion people globally in 2012 have no access to electricity, and 2.7 billion – more than one-third of the world’s population – lack clean cooking facilities.

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