New Delhi, June 28 IANS | 6 months ago

Every fifth person in the world lacks access to electricity while three billion people depend on wood, coal, charcoal or animal waste for cooking, noted environmentalist R.K. Pachauri said here Saturday.

India has the largest number of people lacking access to electricity and clean cooking fuels, the director general of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) said while delivering the third United Nations Public Lecture.

"While India has made major progress in the supply of electricity and modern forms of energy, a large part of the population still lives in a state of energy deprivation," he said.

Pachauri, also the chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) -- which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, said India was adversely affected by emission of harmful gases as a result of people using traditional biomass for cooking and heating.

"Over 300 million people have no access to electricity. Over two-thirds of the country's population depend on traditional biomass and animal waste for cooking, all of which leads to high levels of indoor air pollution.

"TERI estimated almost 20 years ago the level of mortality from air pollution in the country at about 2.5 million people, a large share of which was from indoor air pollution," Pachauri said.

He said IPCC's latest assessment report on climate change has found that emission of harmful gases have increased worldwide, impacting environment and climate dangerously.

"Total anthropogenic green house gases emission have continued to increase from 1970 to now. The increase registered between 2000 and 2010 was the highest in human history," Pachauri said.

"Direct carbon dioxide emission from the energy supply sector are projected to double or even triple by 2050 compared to 2010."

According to the IPCC report, there is 95 percent certainty that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.

"Human influence has been detected in warming of the atmosphere and ocean, in changes of global water cycle, and in reduction in snow and ice," Pachauri said.

(Posted on 28-06-2014)

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