< Green Economy Initiative

Rural energy not starting from ground zero Edit

Two billion people globally do not yet have electricity, oil or gas to cook food and for daily living.

This perpetuates the poverty trap and undermines attempts to achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals while putting pressure on economically-important ecosystems such as forests for fuel-wood and charcoal.

It is a crisis but also an opportunity including a business one given the potential size of the market for alternative energy systems

The Clean Development Mechanism of the UN's Kyoto Protocol is starting to reach some of the smaller developing economies.

The main countries benefiting to date have been the rapidly developing economies such as China, Brazil, India and South Africa.

Other smart instruments include micro-credit schemes and buying down the interest on loans. Edit

UNEP has worked with two banks in India to reduce the cost of solar loans in rural areas from 12 per cent to five and then two per cent. 100,000 people were able to afford solar power. The project is now self-financing.

Similar initiatives have kick-started the solar water heating market in Tunisia. In Mexico, UNEP is working with UNDP on a Global Environment Facility project with similar aims.

The programme will cooperate with Mexico's National Solar Water Heater Program (known as PROCALSOL) to develop a supportive regulatory environment and to assist in building the market demand and the supply chain for solar water heaters.

The aim is to reach the total capacity of 2,500,000 cubic metres of installed systems in Mexico by the end of 2011.

It also aims to support continuing sustainable growth of the market beyond the project's life in order to reach the target to 23.5 million cubic metres of installed capacity by 2020.

This has been estimated to correspond to an estimated cumulative greenhouse gas reduction potential of over 27 million tons of CO2 by 2020.

By 2020, Mexico might have the potential to generate jobs for some 150,000 people in this sector as a result of the new project.

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