March 11, 2008 / 10:08 PM / in 10 years

Make solar lamps not war, says Nobel scientist

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - One billion people can get electricity for the first time for little more than the reported cost of one month’s war in Iraq said Rajendra Pachauri, the head of a Nobel peace prize-winning U.N. panel of climate scientists.

Pachauri is supporting a campaign “lighting a billion lives,” led by India’s Energy and Resources Institute, to furnish people without access to the grid with electric lanterns powered by solar photovoltaic panels.

“Millions and millions of people do not see light after the sun goes down,” he told a carbon market conference in Copenhagen on Tuesday.

Some 1.6 billion people worldwide do not have access to electricity.

Pachauri compared the $15 billion cost of providing solar-powered lights to a billion people with a reported cost of the U.S.-led military campaign in Iraq of $12 billion a month.

He described that perceived mis-match in resources as “one of the biggest tragedies that the world can be guilty of.”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shared the Nobel peace prize last year with former U.S. Vice President Al Gore for raising awareness of the threat of climate change.

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