UN chief calls for universal access to electricity

Sweden Syria Sweden

Abdulbaset Sieda, Ghied Al Hashmy, an unidentified translator and Faiez Sara are seen, left to right, during a news conference with the Syrian opposition in Stockholm, Sweden, Monday Oct. 10, 2011 following a gathered this weekend of the Syrian opposition at the Olof Palme center in Akersberga, north of Stockholm. The newly formed Syrian National Council says it has agreed on a democratic framework for a future Syria and wants international observers to be allowed into the country. (AP Photo/Fredrik Sandberg/Scanpix) SWEDEN OUT

Norway Energy Conference

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaks during the conference 'Energy for All' in Oslo Monday Oct. 10, 2011. THE U.N. Secretary-General has called for making electricity available to all by 2030 saying energy poverty threatens global economic growth and the creation of jobs. Ban says that a clean energy revolution is needed that would double the use of renewable energy sources in 20 years.(AP Photo/Erik Johansen/Scanpix Norway) NORWAY OUT

Sweden Nobel Economics

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences member Per Krusell. left, and permanent secretary Staffan Normark announce during a press conference in Stockholm, Sweden, Monday Oct. 10, 2011, that Americans Thomas Sargent , top right, and Christopher Sims, top left, have won the 2011 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. (AP Photo / Fredrik Sandberg / SCANPIX) SWEDEN OUT

The U.N. secretary-general called Monday for universal access to electricity by 2030, saying a lack of energy in parts of the world threatens economic growth and job creation.
Ban Ki-moon also urged governments and the private sector to pursue "a clean energy revolution," so that the use of renewable energy sources could be doubled in 20 years.
"Such actions could help to revitalize the global economy (and) combat climate change," he said at an energy conference in Oslo, hosted by the Norwegian government and the International Energy Agency, IEA.
In a report released Monday, the Paris-based energy watchdog said 20 percent of the world's population has no access to electricity _ 95 percent of whom live in sub-Saharan Africa or poorer parts of Asia.
Also, some 2.7 billion people are without clean cooking facilities, causing 1.5 million deaths annually from respiratory diseases, the report says.
Korean-born Ban told the conference participants that he knows what it is like to live without electricity. He grew up without it during the Korean War in the early 1950s, so refrigerators and fans were unknown.
"I was a boy of war. I studied by candlelight," he said.
The IEA report said investments to expand energy access had to be increased fivefold to $48 billion annually for electricity to be available for all by the target year.
The agency's chief economist, Fatih Birol, said providing electricity to everybody would have a minor impact on climate change because carbon dioxide emissions would increase by only 0.7 percent.
Ban called for practical and large-scale action whereby governments would provide incentives that encourage more private investments in energy.
"The private sector must and can drive the energy revolution by investing in clean energy," he said.
The two-day meeting that opened in Oslo on Monday is aimed at improving the availability of energy and financing power and light in the Third World. Around 360 delegates from 70 countries are in attendance.