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Electricity, Night Light Rise in Asia, Africa; Enviros Curse It

Nov. 26, 2017 (EIRNS)—Asia has made large gains in the economically critical area of electrification since 2000, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), with Sub-Saharan Africa also making progress. In a report called "Energy Access Outlook 2017," IEA says the number of people without access to electricity fell to below 1.1 billion people for the first time in 2016, with nearly 1.2 billion people having gained access since 2000.

Of the 1.2 billion now with electricity access, some 870 million or 73% are in Asia; 500 million in India alone.

"There is also for the first time a positive trend in Sub-Saharan Africa, where electrification efforts have been outpacing population growth since 2014. However, progress is uneven, and there are still more people without electricity today than there were in 2000."

There are still more than 1 billion people with no access to electricity.

Notably, the report finds that nearly all of the 1.2 billion people have gained access via connection to the main (national or regional) electricity grid. Coal is the dominant energy source being converted into new electrical power, with nuclear power—so far—accounting for just 5%. That is scheduled to increase.

This progress is related, of course, to nighttime lighting, and environmentalists are not happy. One research center has released a report Nov. 22 bemoaning the fact that nighttime lighting has been growing at a rate of about 2.2%/year in East Asia and parts of Africa. The study is based on five years of satellite imagery from the NASA-NOAA Suomi Joint Polar Satellite, and reportedly shows "a correlation between some nations’ economic development and their brighter night skies."

This is tragedy to the International Dark-Sky Association, which conducted the study and which is centered at the German Geosciences Research Center (GDZ) in Potsdam. Rather than recognizing here the expansion of electrification, with its many benefits for human life day and night, the GDZ team denounces the slow increments of nighttime lighting as pollution pure and simple. They are especially upset that the advent of more energy-efficient LED lights has led not to the same lighting with less energy, but to more lighting.

Given the visitation of Angela Merkel’s "Energiewende" government and Hans-Joachim (John) Schellnhuber, C.B.E., upon Germany for a long time, the location of the dark-sky grouping is perhaps not surprising.

But even cursing the darkness shows more sense than cursing the light.