Climate Change & Energy
United Nations Conferences
of the UN
conferences of the 1990s are interrelated in terms of sustainable
development themes. Whether referred to directly or indirectly, these
inter-linkages should be recognised and used to avoid duplication of work.
Looking at energy and climate change some of the explicit and implicit
references in the conference documents are outlined below.
UNCED (Earth Summit, Rio 1992)
UNCED + 5
and climate change are covered extensively in Agenda 21, particularly in
the flowing chapters: ‘Protection of
the Atmosphere’, ‘Combating
Deforestation’ and ‘Agriculture
and Rural Development’. Modern clean energy technology is particularly
relevant to Chapter 34 ‘Transfer of
Environmentally Sound Technology, Cooperation and Capacity-building’.
The chapters pertaining to human
health, human settlement
and drought, sustainable
mountain development, and oceans are
also intrinsically related.
The sections on Energy, Transport and Atmosphere in The Programme for Further Implementation of Agenda 21 are all specifically relevant. It was decided at the UNCED +5 review to make Atmosphere & Energy the sectoral themes, and Energy & Transport the economic sector, for discussion at the 9th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development in 2001.
A discussion relating the implementation of population policies and the meeting of basic needs. Energy provision for the meeting of basic needs, as well as allowing time and resources for economic and educational developments which would in turn promote lower birth rates, is vital.
Document: Programme of Action
Specifically: Chapter 1: Climate Change & Sea Level Rise; Chapter 7: Energy Resources; Chapter 1: Climate Change & Sea Level Rise
“Small Island Developing States are particularly vulnerable to global climate change, climate variability and sea level rise. As their population, agricultural land and infrastructure tend to be concentrated in the coastal zone, any rise in sea level will have significant and profound effects on their economies and living conditions; the very survival of certain low-lying countries will be threatened.” ;
;Chapter 7: Energy Resources “Small island developing States are currently heavily dependent on imported petroleum products, largely for transport and electricity generation, energy often accounting for more than 12 per cent of imports. They are also heavily dependent on indigenous biomass fuels for cooking and crop drying…Small island developing States will continue to be heavily dependent on petroleum fuels and biomass both in the short and medium term. However, the current uses of those fuels tend to be highly inefficient.”
Specifically: Chapter 2, B, 31,a
“Improving availability and
accessibility of transportation, communication, power and energy services
at the local or community level, in particular for isolated, remote and
discussion of the vital role women have to play in sustainable development
– in relation to energy issues this particularly relates to domestic
production and consumption choices, natural resource management, promotion
of environmental ethics (i.e. reducing resource use and recycling to
minimize waste and excessive consumption), and community infrastructure
design. It recognises the adverse effects domestic situations can
have on women’s health, education and economic productivity – which can
all be related to energy concerns (and climate change). Note particularly Strategic Objective K.1. 253 d “Take appropriate measures to reduce
risks to women from identified environmental hazards at home, at work and
in other environments, including appropriate application of clean
technologies, taking into account the precautionary approach…”
It recognises the adverse effects domestic situations can have on women’s health, education and economic productivity – which can all be related to energy concerns (and climate change). Note particularly Strategic Objective K.1. 253 d “Take appropriate measures to reduce risks to women from identified environmental hazards at home, at work and in other environments, including appropriate application of clean technologies, taking into account the precautionary approach…”
145 “The use of energy is essential in urban centres for transportation, industrial production, and household and office activities. Current dependence in most urban centres on non-renewable energy sources can lead to climate change, air pollution and consequent environmental and human health problems, and may represent a serious threat to sustainable development.”
Point 7 “Unless national governments and the international community address the multifaceted causes underlying food insecurity, the number of hungry and malnourished people will remain very high in developing countries, particularly in Africa south of the Sahara; and sustainable food security will not be achieved…” Climate change’s impact on (amongst others) desertification, pollution, forced migration due to environmental conditions, biodiversity, freshwater, rural livelihoods, education, health and poverty amplifies these underlying causes of food insecurity.
Commitment 3, 24 “The resource base for food, agriculture, fisheries and forestry is under stress and is threatened by problems such as desertification, deforestation, over-fishing, overcapacity and discards in fisheries, losses of biodiversity, as well as inefficient use of water, climate change and depletion of the ozone layer.”