Submitted by ub on Tue, 01/17/2012 - 10:09

As the International Year of Sustainable Energy kicks off, United Nations officials are calling on governments, the private sector and civil society to help expand energy access, improve efficiency and increase the use of renewable energy.

Globally, one person in five still lacks access to modern electricity and twice that number – three billion people – rely on wood, coal, charcoal, or animal waste for cooking and heating.

Energy is central to everything, from powering economies to achieving the anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), from combating climate change to underpinning global security.

And yet, widespread energy poverty still condemns billions to darkness, to ill-health, to missed opportunities for education and prosperity.

The UN is tasked with promoting his Sustainable Energy for All initiative, which seeks to ensure universal access to modern energy services, double the rate of improvement in energy efficiency and double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix, all by 2030.