Decent Living Energy

This project develops a body of knowledge and analytical framework to quantify the energy needs and climate change impacts of eradicating poverty and providing decent living standards to all. The project identifies opportunities to shift developing societies towards low-carbon pathways, reveals inequities in energy provision within countries and provides insights on developing countries’ claims to ‘equitable access to sustainable development’.

Decent Living Standard Gaps

Version 1.0 — Standards are defined below.
Note: for Transport data, instead of per-country data the regional average is displayed for each country within a region.

Citation: Kikstra, J., A. Mastrucci, J. Min, ND Rao. Decent living gaps and energy needs around the world. Env Res. Ltrs. doi

About Decent Living Standards

Current measures of human development, such the Human Development Index (income, life expectancy, literacy), or the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) inadequately measure the extent of human deprivation, particularly with regard to the means that enable basic human well-being. These requirements need to be available and affordable to all.

We propose a Decent Living Standard, which entails material requirements at the household, community and national scale.

For more details on the rationale for these standards see:

 Rao, N.D. & Min, J. (2017). Decent living standards: material prerequisites for basic human wellbeing. Social Indicators Research, 1-20

Defining the Decent Living Standards

  • Transport: Travel with motorized transport to meet basic mobility needs (>23km/day)
  • Clean cooking: Primary use of gas or electric cook stoves
  • Cold storage: Refrigerator ownership
  • Television: Television ownership
  • Mobile phone: Mobile phone ownership (proxy for access to ICT/Internet)
  • Water access: Access to piped water on premise or other improved drinking water source (as per World Bank definition)
  • Sanitation: Access to sanitation facilities that ensure hygienic separation of human excreta from human contact (as per World Bank definition)
  • Nutrition: Access to minimum dietary calorie requirements (as per Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) guidelines
  • Education: Completed primary and lower secondary education
  • Housing: Minimum of 10 sq. meters per capita of space with safe construction
  • Cooling: Access to fans or A/C required to keep temperature and humidity comfortable (18-26C, 45-65% humidity)
The Decent Living Energy project was supported by the European Research Council Starting Grant, No. 637462 from 2014 to 2019 at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA). Ongoing research builds on the foundation to delve deeper along several dimensions, including food systems, energy and sustainability; heat stress and cooling; electric cookstoves; and mobility needs and material requirements.
Current projects include investigating decent living in Austria towards NetZero-2040, developing ‘decent living’ energy demand pathways in Integrated Assessment Models, and exploring the implications of providing ‘decent living for all’ for growth and inequality.