The Cost of Energy Poverty

Sitting, listening to the ocean in Cancun, Mexico, one realizes how truly fortunate
we are. As students, we are here, representing CFACT at the 2010 United Nations
Climate Change Conference. It is a bit ironic then, that we are writing this in the
sun, by the pool, at a Hotel, with the purpose of bringing light to the issue of Energy

The irony continues…here we sit in one of the touristy places in the country of
Mexico, while less than 50 miles away are some of the very people we are talking
about. Even in Mexico, there are people living without basic electricity. While those
people are going about their daily lives, trying to make enough money to support
their families. According to the World Economic Forum, an estimated 3 billion
people worldwide are living without sustainable or affordable energy, yet Delegates
at the UNFCCC debate energy treaties that would place such necessities as electricity
out of reach.

It is not, however, just those people in developing countries who would be effected
by such measures that are being proposed, but also those in nations like the United
States. The documentary, It’s not Evil, Just Wrong, introduces some of the average,
hard working American’s who would be extremely impacted in the most negative
way by a shut down, or cut back, in the coal industry. There are many families in
the United States barely making ends meat with energy costs as high as they are
currently and many families would go belly-up if those costs were increased, as they
will be if the UNFCCC delegates get their way. There may be room to tighten the belt
in the Gore family, as they live in their Nashville mansion and Al flies around on his
private jet, but most Americans are barely breathing with how tight their finances
have become in the past few years.

When Lord Christopher Monckton came in and talked to us the first day and we
discussed energy poverty he mentioned how the cost of energy has almost doubled
in the last couple of years. There was a big report that came out that said “Global
Warming” was going to kill 21,000 people because the earth was getting to be too
hot. However, in a cold snap that recently happened in England, 21,000 people
died because they didn’t have enough money to pay for heat. That in itself is a huge
problem; people shouldn’t be dying because the cost of energy is so high that they
cant afford it. The loss of 21,000 in a decade due to global warming is tragic, but the
loss of 21,000 people in a three month period is completely unacceptable.

The faces of Energy Poverty can be seen around the world in both developed and
developing nations, and we cannot afford the cost of higher energy bills. The cost will not be solely monetary, but human.

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