Our assessment is that policies to reduce energy-related carbon dioxide emissions need not limit efforts to improve energy access in the world's poorest countries; indeed these two objectives could in some instances be complementary.
Policies to reduce carbon dioxide emissions will include adopting cleaner technologies, improving energy efficiency and increasing the use of renewable energy. In the longer term it will require the use of emerging technologies such as carbon capture and storage.
In developing countries, improved access to reliable and affordable energy services is needed in order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Energy access is lowest in rural areas, notably in sub-Saharan Africa and in South Asia, often beyond the reach of grid-connected supplies. In these cases, decentralised energy production, using a wide range of renewable and conventional technologies, may offer the best solutions for increasing access to poor households and communities. A recent study by the World Bank's Energy Sector Management Assistance Programme concluded that renewable energy is more economical than conventional energy for many such applications.