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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Energy for Life

More than three billion people still burn wood, dung, coal and other traditional fuels inside their homes. The resulting indoor air pollution is responsible for more than 1.5 million deaths a year – mostly of young children and their mothers. Millions more suffer every day with difficulty in breathing, stinging eyes and chronic respiratory disease.

1.5 billion people have no access to electricity, and 85% of the population in Africa don't yet have electricity. 400 million in India have no access to power.

Collecting Firewood
Collecting Firewood

There is enormous unmet demand for access to electricity and clean energy.

In its annual Human Development Report, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) said the UN has designated 2012 as the international year of sustainable energy for all.

Energy is essential to meet our most basic needs: cooking, boiling water, lighting and heating. It is also a prerequisite for good health – a reality that has been largely ignored by the world community.

One of the greatest energy needs across the world is for cooking, something which we take for granted. Without a decent energy supply, people are forced to rely on biomass - wood or animal dung - for cooking. Women and children can spend hours every day searching for increasingly scarce resources. Once they start burning biomass, the thick acrid smoke cause's serious lung diseases turning kitchens into death traps.

Children and their mothers are most at risk, choking, retching and gasping to get air to their lungs which are being attacked and destroyed by smoke. More people die from smoke inhalation than malaria.

According to the World Health Organisation, diseases associated with indoor air pollution claim 1.5 million lives every year - that's one person every 20 seconds.

Green Climate Fund

Source: What the Australian Government is doing > Shaping a global solution

At CancĂșn in December 2010, countries agreed to establish a new Green Climate Fund to support mitigation and adaptation activities in developing countries, including capacity-building, technology development and transfer. Australia anticipates that, over time, a significant portion of long-term financing to support climate change activities in developing countries will be channeled through this Fund.

Throughout 2011 Australia joined 39 other countries on the Transitional Committee which was tasked with the design of the Fund. The Transitional Committee's recommendations, including the draft governing instrument of the Green Climate Fund, were approved by the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC in December 2011 at Durban.

As a result, concrete steps are now being taken to operationalise the Fund to ensure the appropriate arrangements are put in place so it can commence operations including allocating funds to support action on climate change in developing countries as soon as possible. Australia, like other developed countries, is providing some financial assistance to support the initial administrative operations of the Fund.


A central element of bringing developed and developing countries together in an international climate change agreement will be financing to assist developing countries in their transition to climate-resilient and low-carbon economies.

It is in Australia's interest to assist developing countries to build their capacity to reduce emissions and to take urgent adaptation actions while maintaining a priority focus on development, in particular the eradication of poverty. Early action on both adaptation and mitigation will reduce global costs and the costs to individual countries.

To this end, Australia is working to build a coordinated approach that will deliver financing where it is needed most, as soon as possible.

Related links
AusAID - Climate Change
"Australia's funding for 2012/2013 - $172.07 million.
Our total climate change expenditure over the fast start period (2010–11 to 2012–13) is expected to exceed the $599 million fast start commitment."