Energy diet for a starving world

Former Vice President Al Gore considers it immoral to oppose the Kyoto Protocol, energy taxes or other coercive schemes to curb carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions linked to global warming. But in reality, it is immoral to put an energy-starved world on an energy diet, says Marlo Lewis, senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Energy poverty is a scourge, shortening the lives and impairing the health of untold millions of people around the globe, says Lewis. For example:

  • An estimated 1.6 billion people lack access to electricity, and some 2.4 billion people still rely on biomass – wood, crop waste and dung – for cooking and heating.

  • Daily indoor air pollution in energy-poor countries is much dirtier than outdoor air in the world's most polluted cities and kills about 2.8 million people a year, most of them women and children.

    Even in the United States, high-energy prices inflict hardship on low-income households. Millions of families already feel pinched by the high cost of gasoline, natural gas, and home heating oil. A Kyoto-style system would push energy prices even higher.

    Overall, there is no known way to meet the developing world's energy needs without increasing use of CO2-emitting fossil fuels, says Lewis. Forcing developing countries to go on an energy diet would condemn them to decades of continuing poverty, backwardness and misery.

    Source: Marlo Lewis, Energy Diet for a Starving World? Washington Times, January 2, 2007.

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    FMF Policy Bulletin/ 09 January 2007
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