Human Development Index and environmental sustainability
The HDI simplifies and captures only part of what human development entails; it does not reflect on sustainability, inequalities, poverty, empowerment, etc. The 2016 Human Development Report introduced a set of dashboards including Sustainable Development Dashboard which focuses on sustainability in the environmental, economic and social realms.
The HDI, when supplemented with data from dashboards, can provide valuable insights. Sustainable energy is central to economic growth, social progress, and environmental sustainability, as recognized by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Renewable energy consumption per capita and Carbon dioxide emissions data show a contrasting picture between very high and low human development countries. However, there is an important difference in the type of renewable energy available in these countries.
In very high human development countries renewable energy technologies include solar, wind and hydro.
On the other hand, in low human development countries the use of clean renewable energy technologies is at the beginning. The high share of renewable sources should also be looked in the context of low electrification rates, particularly in rural areas, where the energy source is mostly based on biomass (burning wood in households), which have negative implications on environment and health.