Energy Management in Agenda 21
nergy receives significant coverage within the chapters of Agenda 21, though there is no specific chapter devoted to the topic. It addresses the full continuum from energy supply to demand, and makes a strong case for the transition from unsustainable to sustainable approaches to energy management.
Most chapters mention energy as a key issue, recognizing its importance for human productivity and development. Agenda 21 also places caution on the negative impacts and effects of both energy production and consumption. It places greater emphasis on renewable energy sources, calling for the conservation of energy through energy efficient technologies and energy recovery in production and consumption processes.
- Chapter 4. Changing consumption patterns
- Changing consumption patterns is dealt with in this chapter in terms of how economies can grow and prosper while reducing the use of energy and materials and the production of harmful materials. The chapter encourages greater efficiency in the use of energy and resources by reducing the amount of energy and materials used per unit in the production of goods and services that contributes both to the alleviation of environmental stress and to
greater economic and industrial productivity and competitiveness. "Governments, in cooperation with industry, should therefore intensify efforts to use energy and resources in an economically efficient and environmentally sound manner ... " [4.18]. The chapter also cautions that " ... without the stimulus of prices and market signals that make clear to producers and consumers the environmental costs of the consumption of energy, materials and natural resources and the generation of wastes, significant changes in consumption and production patterns seem unlikely to occur in the near future." [4.24]
- Chapter 6. Protecting and promoting human health conditions
- In many locations around the world the general environment (air, water and land), workplaces and even individual dwellings are so badly polluted that the health of hundreds of millions of people is adversely affected. This is, inter alia, due to past and present developments in consumption and production patterns and lifestyles, in energy production and use, in industry, in transportation etc., with little or no regard for environmental protection. In order to overcome this, the chapter calls for - "establishing environmental health impact assessment procedures for the planning and development of new industries and energy facilities; incorporating appropriate health risk analysis in all national programmes for pollution control and management, with particular emphasis on toxic compounds such as lead; establishing industrial hygiene programmes in all major industries for the surveillance of workers' exposure to health hazards; promoting the introduction of environmentally sound technologies within the industry and energy sectors" [6.41]
- Chapter 7. Promoting sustainable human settlement development
Chapter 7 clearly recognizes that "promoting sustainable energy and transport systems in human settlements" is one way of achieving sustainability. It calls for efforts in saving energy, as a basis for living systems and opportunity for all human activity; promoting renewable energy techniques and technologies in general; and the use of energy efficient building materials. It also calls for an integrated approach to the provision of energy and other infrastructure needs.
"Most of the commercial and non-commercial energy produced today is used in and for human settlements, and a substantial percentage of it is used by the household sector. Developing countries are at present faced with the need to increase their energy production to accelerate development and raise the living standards of their populations, while at the same time reducing energy production costs and energy-related pollution. Increasing the efficiency of energy use to reduce its polluting effects and to promote the use of renewable energies must be a priority in any action taken to protect the urban environment. " [7.46]
- Chapter 9. Protection of the atmosphere
The chapter recognizes that energy is essential to economic and social development and improved quality of life. "Much of the world's energy, however, is currently produced and consumed in ways that could not be sustained ... the need to control atmospheric emissions of greenhouse and other gases and substances will increasingly need to be based on efficiency in energy production, transmission, distribution and consumption, and on growing reliance on
environmentally sound energy systems, particularly new and renewable sources of energy. All energy sources will need to be used in ways that respect the atmosphere, human health and the environment as a whole. " [9.9]. It calls for cooperation in identifying and developing economically viable, environmentally sound energy sources to promote the availability of increased energy supplies to support sustainable development efforts, in particular in developing countries; promoting the development at the national level of appropriate methodologies for making integrated energy, environment and economic policy decisions for sustainable development, inter alia, through environmental impact assessments; and other measures.
- Chapter 14. Promoting sustainable agriculture and rural development
Key to sustainable agriculture and rural development is the transition of rural energy to enhance productivity. Chapter recommends action on this front by providing support services and training, recognizing the variation in agricultural circumstances and practices by location; the optimal use of on-farm inputs and the minimal use of external inputs; optimal use of local natural resources and management of renewable energy sources; and the establishment of networks that deal with the exchange of information on alternative forms of agriculture.