Rio de Janero has become a hub for clean energy innovation and environmental policy this week as more than 100 government leaders gather to discuss climate change, biodiversity and fuel efficiency at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20).

The topic sparking the biggest debate among global leaders in attendance is this: how can we make clean energy available to everyone on earth?

The goal is both basic and lofty. To achieve it, leaders acknowledged they must address a three-pronged issue: The world’s poorest people lack access to energy. The cheapest energy comes from fossil fuels. Fossil fuels, however, contribute to global warming.

NPR reports that U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon proposed a solution to energy poverty at the summit that he hopes will be realized by 2030. The plan, called Sustainable Energy for All, aims to secure universal energy access to people worldwide, double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency and double renewable energy‘s stake in the global energy marketplace. The hope is that the plan will simultaneously provide poor communities with access to clean energy and new jobs in the renewable energy sector.

“Widespread energy poverty condemns billions of people to darkness, to ill health and to missed opportunities,” Ban said at the conference.

NPR reports that the proposed program would cost about $50 billion per year to implement.

Other highlights of the summit include a $3 billion pledge from Japan to help developing countries build a green economy, The Japan Daily Press reports.

Featured photo credit: World Economic Forum/Flickr