United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Major Group: Business & Industry

BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY MAJOR GROUP
AIR POLLUTION TALKING POINTS
for the IPM (26 Feb ? 2 Mar 2007)
28 FEBRUARY 2007
REDUCING INDOOR AIR POLLUTION FROM TRADITIONAL BIOMASS FUELS
? More than half the world?s population depends on biomass or other energy that results in
unhealthy indoor air pollution, and according to the IEA, that is expected to continue to rise.
The WHO states that 1.6 million people die every year from indoor air pollution. This area
should be given a high priority in the overall cluster of energy and other issues for this CSD
cycle, in light of its health, environmental and social impacts now and today.
? The use of traditional biomass fuels for cooking and heating arises from a complicated set of
factors, ranging from cultural tradition and behavior to the burdens and limits of poverty. In
this context, a particularly important factor is lack of access to safer energy services. As we
have said elsewhere, this access is a key ingredient in reducing poverty and providing
essential services including education, food preservation, communications and health care.
Currently, approximately, 2.4 billion people do not have access to modern energy services
and rely on traditional energy sources. Lack of access to energy hinders development
(including the Millennium Development Goals), undermines economic growth and poses
strains on the environment.
? Access to energy requires enabling conditions in place that also set the stage for other
societal benefits. Key features of these enabling frameworks include:
? Open markets;
? Strong institutions and sound governance;
? Risk management;
? Protection of intellectual property;
? Due diligence;
? Rule of law and honouring contracts;
? Cost effective, consistent policies and regulations based on transparent, stable,
economic and uniformly enforced regulatory systems.
These framework conditions will support energy and other infrastructure investments
and capacity building, contributing to better options to traditional biomass.
REDUCING OUTDOOR AIR POLLUTION, TAKING INTO ACCOUNT ITS RELATION TO
TRANSPORTATION, INDUSTRY, URBAN DEVELOPMENT AND ENERGY PRODUCTION
AND CONSUMPTION
? This cluster of critical societal needs underscores the importance of integrated energy,
transport and environmental policies and concerted implementation by governments in
partnership with other stakeholders.
? Technological innovation by the private sector is critical to continuing advances in reducing
emissions from mobile and stationary sources.
? Business is investing resources towards technology advancement and deployment of less
polluting, lower carbon, renewable and more efficient technologies. Developing and utilizing
both existing and new energy technologies are critical to improve access to energy, promote
energy efficiency and reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
? Recognizing that ongoing technological innovation may provide solutions to current
challenges, all energy sources should be considered as options to meet increasing energy
? Governments need to support business technological development and deployment
activities by:
? Funding R&D activities directly (research centers) and indirectly (universities);
? Assisting in capacity-building initiatives by streamlining processes for international
cooperation and participation;
? Supporting R&D and technology transfer across borders, by lowering tariffs, maintaining
strong intellectual property right protection and establishing trade agreements;
? Providing an R&D friendly environment by guaranteeing a workable effective patent
system;
? Engaging major stakeholders in discussions on the advancement of innovation and new
technologies.
Significant investment is required to maintain, grow and deliver the energy supplies required to
meet future demand in a sustainable manner, to address climate change mitigation and
adaptation, while also improving air quality. Business (as a major investor), other investors and
governments need to collaborate and work in partnership in this endeavor.
Current prioritization and allocation of funds will influence technologies, infrastructures, and
energy options for decades to come. Changes in energy systems happen slowly because of the
large investment base and infrastructure, the long lead time and lifetime of installed fixtures and
the ongoing investments that are required to maintain and grow capacity.
Governments can promote and enable investments in improved, less polluting technologies by
leveraging official development assistance, promoting technological cooperation and exploring
innovative financing arrangements.
Additional financial resources to replace and expand energy infrastructures are imperative.
Additional funds have to be sourced from donors, multilateral agencies, and through foreign
direct investment, particularly for developing countries.
Governments and donor agencies are urged to assist innovative partnerships (between local
governments, the private sector and civil society) that use various sources of funding to jumpstart
and test shared-risk models. Donor agencies should also streamline the process of
releasing official development assistance for relevant projects and initiatives.