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The UN should properly define “modern energy access.”

Doubling or tripling energy consumption in energy-poor countries means little when the gap in energy consumption per capita between high- and low-income countries is actually more on the magnitude of one hundred instead of one. For example, rather than meeting the IEA’s low estimate of what constitutes modern energy access—100 kWh per capita, per year—the UN should work toward raising low-income countries’ energy consumption to that of, say, Japan (7848 kWh per capita, per year), which has a high standard of living but is also a leader in energy efficiency. The UN should elevate the international energy access debate toward a much more humane and prosperous goal that is in line with the high levels of energy access high-income countries benefit from today.