Energy access as a life-or-death issue

We’ve devoted a fair amount of space on this blog to issues of energy access in developing countries, including examining whether Clean Development Mechanism projects are being preferentially established in the countries with the lowest energy access (apparently not), and highlighting how access to small amounts of liquid fuels can dramatically improve health.  The concept of Energy Justice highlights that access to clean, affordable energy services at the household level is a prerequisite to the Millennium Development Goals.

A recent post from Roger Pielke Jr. dramatically reinforces this point, showing the strong correlation between energy access and life expectancy:


Access to modern cooking fuels avoids the indoor air pollution from incomplete biomass combustion that kills millions every year, and saves women and children countless hours of toil scrounging for firewood; access to electricity means light at night, and refrigeration for the safe storage of foods and medications; access to liquid transportation fuels implies access to markets and emergency medical clinics.  Taken together then, it’s no wonder that greater modern energy access is associated with healthier, longer, and more productive lives.

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4 Responses to Energy access as a life-or-death issue

  1. Paul says:

    Correlation is not causation! You are heading down a slippery slope, especially since you didn’t include pirates in your graph (!

  2. Pingback: IMF report on energy subsidies, implications for a carbon tax & energy security | Energy and the Future

  3. John says:

    For some additional data on sources of morbidity/mortality worldwide, check out The Lancet’s latest Global Burden of Disease study:

    In particular, you can see the numbers for indoor & ambient air pollution, water & sanitation, lead exposure, etc. for any region or globally here;

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