The depletion of fossil fuel resources became a matter of increasing global concern during the 1970s, a decade which concluded with the "second oil shock", an increase of over two and a half times in the average price of traded crude oil between January 1979 and June 1980. This article reviews the implications of energy scarcity for the developing countries in respect of social objectives such as employment generation and the alleviation of poverty. In particular it seeks to address the following questions: firstly, are the projections of a tightening world market for oil a sound basis for policy-making, and if so what implications do they have for economic growth in developing countries? Secondly, what are the employment and other social consequences of the energy policy options facing developing countries in the remainder of this century? And thirdly, what role can the ILO play in easing the transition to new energy producing and consuming technologies?
As in Europe before the industrial revolution, energy supply in low-income countries is distinguished by the predominance of non-commercial sources including animal power, human labour, firewood and crop wastes. However, in order to establish their urban centres, transport systems and manufacturing industries, developing countries need commercial energy--petrol and heating oil, coal, gas and electricity. Most are heavily dependent on____________________