Members of Project Gaia attended the UN Sustainable Energy for All Forum (SE4All) in New York City from May 18 through May 21. The forum brought together NGOs, government officials, business persons, and investors in its initiative to address the “twin challenges of energy poverty and climate change.” (You can find a summary of the forum here.)
On the second day of the conference, Project Gaia, along with the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves, the UN Sustainable Bioenergy High Impact Opportunities (HIO) Initiative, and the Stockholm Environment Institute, co-hosted the panel “Maximizing the Benefits of Clean Cooking Fuels: Creating a Sustainable Mass Market” at the Sheraton Hotel on Times Square. Panelists presented their initiatives and programs for clean fuel sources for cookstoves, including solar, liquid petroleum gas (LPG), biogas, and ethanol. Our partners POET and Green Social Bioethanol discussed the numerous benefits of ethanol as a cooking fuel while dispelling common concerns and misconceptions. POET’s Shon Van Hulzen emphasized the fact that the production of grain-based ethanol has the added benefit of positively impacting food supply. Gaston Kremer of Green Social Bioethanol spoke of the importance of adapting technology and practices based on the needs and resources of the communities in which organizations are working. Project Gaia was pleased with the outcome of the panel and the emphasis SE4All has placed on clean cooking fuels, as well as with the efforts of the Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves and the UN Sustainable Bioenergy HIO to bring attention to this aspect of energy use. Harry Stokes, Executive Director of Project Gaia, said of the panel, “Alcohol fuels should be part of the world’s core strategy for universal energy access. No other energy source, be it a liquid or gaseous fuel or electricity, can provide the energy needed, in so convenient and transportable a form, to meet the needs of whole populations, including those widely dispersed in rural areas.”
Project Gaia spent our final day in New York in the UN General Assembly Hall for the first part of SE4All’s Global Energy Ministerial. Among various speeches and lively, heated panel discussions, a highlight was the inspirational keynote speech by Kandeh Yumkella (video of which is divided into two parts, here and here). He declared “Energy is about human development,” and reminded us of the importance of our work and the overwhelming need for sustainable, clean energy.
By Ellie Rice