Increased energy use is a vital pre-requisite for economic development, and less developing countries (LDCs) are struggeling to meet energy needs at acceptable costs. LDC decision-makers share the worldwide environmental concerns, but also face other urgent issues like poverty. The industrialised countries can afford to substitute environmental protection for further material growth, but the LDCs will need concessional funding to participate in addressing global environmental problems. Global financing issues may be analysed and resolved through tradeoffs among several criteria including affordability/additionality, fairness/equity, and economic efficiency. The short-term LDC response to sustainable energy issues will be limited mainly to conventional technologies in efficiency improvements, conservation and resource development. The industrialised nations should provide financial resources to LDCs and develop the technology to be used in the 21st century. Pilot international funds like the Global Environmental Facility and the Ozone Fund will help LDCs participate in the effort to solve global environmental issues. (author) 16 refs.