OFID on Energy Poverty
As the graph below indicates, there are significant differences in the energy mix consumption patterns of poor countries and more developed populations. In the case of poor countries, biomass plays a major role. According to studies from the World Health Organization and the International Energy Agency, 2.5 billion people rely on traditional biomass (wood, agricultural residues and animal dung) for cooking and heating. The use of traditional biomass as a primary component of the energy mix has severe drawbacks that constrain sustainable development. For example, the smoke from burning biomass indoors causes 1.6 million deaths per year, a death toll greater than that caused by malaria. Other disadvantages include time wasted gathering fuelwood, pressure on the environment and deforestation. In the case of more developed populations, their energy consumption pattern is characterized by a more diversified fuel mix including substantial proportions of oil products and electricity, i.e. the more modern types of fuels that promote economic and social growth.