FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sustainable Off-Grid Lighting Solutions Can Deliver Major Benefits
Nairobi, 20 February 2013 - Replacing the millions of kerosene lamps, candles and flashlights used worldwide with modern solar lighting can provide an increasingly low-cost solution to reducing carbon emissions, indoor air pollution and health risks, and boosting green jobs, according to new studies from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
UNEP also announced today a new strategic partnership with the private sector to facilitate a market shift towards energy-efficient, off-grid lighting and to reduce the estimated 74 million tons of annual carbon emissions from fuel-based light sources commonly used in developing countries.
The collaboration with the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association (GOGLA) will see the launch of an international effort to accelerate the deployment of enabling policies towards sustainable off-grid lighting.
To underscore the new partnership, the UNEP-led en.lighten initiative has unveiled new national assessments for 80 countries on the economic and environmental gains that can be achieved through a shift to solar-powered alternatives.
The studies show that if Kenya, for example, replaced all fuel-based lighting with solar-powered light emitting diode (LED) systems, the costs would be repaid in only seven months, due to major fuel savings.
Kenya currently spends around US$ 900 million per year on off-grid lighting, and fuel-based light sources in the country are responsible for over 2.3 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions per year.
"Replacing the world's 670 million kerosene lamps with cleaner, safer solar-powered lighting represents a major opportunity to deliver across multiple fronts, from cuts in global carbon emissions, health risks from indoor air pollution, support for green technologies and the generation of green jobs," said UN Under Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.
"UNEP's new partnership with GOGLA strengthens our ongoing work with some 50 developing countries and leading lighting companies to move away from incandescent and other inefficient light bulbs. Supporting both sustainable off-grid and on-grid lighting can bring about major financial savings in a short time, as well as additional educational, health and environmental benefits towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals," added Mr. Steiner.
"GOGLA is the industry advocate for promoting clean, quality off-grid lighting systems that benefit society and businesses in developing and emerging markets," said Wolfgang Gregor, Secretary-General of the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association (GOGLA).
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