Policy ForumENVIRONMENT AND DEVELOPMENT

The Energy-Poverty-Climate Nexus

Science  26 Nov 2010:
Vol. 330, Issue 6008, pp. 1181-1182
DOI: 10.1126/science.1197412

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Summary

Close to two-thirds of the world's poorest people live in rural areas (1). Eradication of rural poverty depends on increased access to goods, services, and information, targets detailed in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. However, alleviating poverty is hindered by two interlinked phenomena: lack of access to improved energy services and worsening environmental shocks due to climate change. Mitigating climate change, increasing energy access, and alleviating rural poverty can all be complementary, their overlap defining an energy-poverty-climate nexus. We describe interventions in a rural Nicaraguan community to show that energy services can be provided in cost-effective manners, offering the potential to address aspects of rural poverty while also transitioning away from fossil fuel dependence.