Paul Genoa, NEI’s Director of Policy Development, has posted to The National Journal’s Copenhagen Insider blog. This is the entire post, but do pay a visit over to The National Journal for all the latest at COP15. Here is Mr. Genoa’s post:
Reducing poverty and human suffering in the least developed countries is the right thing to do from an ethical/moral perspective, and it is in everyone’s own strategic self interest. Throughout human history, extreme poverty has led to war and environmental destruction. Lands are deforested, top soil eroded and villages plundered.
It is in the interest of the developed countries to do what they can to avoid these environmental and security threats through effective development assistance. Because climate change will only make a bad problem worse for most of these countries, we need to step-up our global greenhouse gas mitigation efforts and help these countries adapt to future changes in the world’s climate.
There is a direct correlation between access to electricity and both the quality and longevity of human life. Electrification directly alleviates poverty through providing clean drinking water, refrigeration of food and medicines, and by expanding education and productivity. In many developed nations, the transition to clean electric technology began in the 1970s when they significantly expanded nuclear energy as one response to the Middle East oil embargo. This effectively displaced the use of oil in the electricity system for many of these countries.
The United States and other developed countries can help developing nations most by first reducing their own GHG emissions by rapidly deploying a portfolio of clean energy technologies, including nuclear energy and renewable energy. Electrification in the least developed countries can be accelerated through distributed renewable resources.
In addition to the humanitarian benefits, development assistance to these countries should be thought of as a long-term business development opportunity. We can build sustained trading partnerships over time, exporting U.S. clean energy technology while creating quality jobs at home. As they say, we can do well by doing good