SDG7 Affordable and Clean Energy
Energy is central to nearly every major challenge and opportunity the world faces today. Be it for jobs, security, climate change, food production or increasing incomes, access to energy for all is essential.
Focusing on universal access to energy, increased energy efficiency and the increased use of renewable energy through new economic and job opportunities is crucial to creating more sustainable and inclusive communities and resilience to environmental issues like climate change.
Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable
and modern energy for all
At the current time, there are approximately 3 billion people who lack access to clean-cooking solutions and are exposed to dangerous levels of air pollution. Additionally, slightly less than 1 billion people are functioning without electricity and 50% of them are found in Sub-Saharan Africa alone.
Fortunately, progress has been made in the past decade regarding the use of renewable electricity from water, solar and wind power and the ratio of energy used per unit of GDP is also declining.
Burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil, or gas for the majority of our electricity produces large amounts of greenhouse gases, which cause climate change and have harmful effects on the environment and people’s well-being. A well-established energy system is needed to support businesses, medicine, education, agriculture, infrastructure, communications, and high-technology.
- One in five people in the world today (over 1.2 billion) do not have access to electricity, with 80% of them concentrated in just 20 countries. More than half the people without electricity lived in sub-Saharan Africa.the majority being in Asia and Africa.
- Without electricity, women and girls have to spend hours fetching water, food cannot be kept cold, clinics cannot store vaccines for children, computers and phones cannot be powered, many school-children cannot do homework at night, and people cannot run competitive businesses.
- Another 2.8 billion people rely on wood, charcoal, animal waste and coal for cooking and heating, which results in over 4 million deaths a year due to indoor air pollution.
- A major challenge is providing electricity rapidly enough to outpace growing populations. While some 86 million people a year are able to access electricity for the first time, this progress has been offset in some areas by population growth. Another challenge is the ability to access electricity in rural areas.
- Between 2000 and 2014, the global percentage of people with access to electricity increased from 77.6% to 85.3%. However, the progress wasn’t as strong for access to clean cooking fuels and technologies, where the increase from 50% to 57% was largely offset by population growth. Current progress (.46% increase annually) is far lower than the annual 2.66% increase required for universal access by 2030.
- Most growth in renewable energy has been concentrated in the electricity sector. However, electricity makes up only 20% of total energy consumption. The key to expanding renewable energy will be to increase its share in heat and transport, which together account for the remaining 80% of energy consumption.
The world needs to triple its investment in sustainable energy infrastructure per year, from around $400 billion now to $1.25 trillion by 2030.
- As a member of society, you can start saving electricity by plugging appliances into a power strip and turning them off completely when not in use. You can bike, walk, or take public transport to reduce carbon emissions. You can also join the Sustainable Energy for All initiative (https://www.seforall.org/) that ensures universal access to modern energy services, improves efficiency, and increases use of renewable sources.
- As an employer, you can prioritize telecommunications and incentivize less energy intensive modes of transportation. You can also commit to sourcing operational electricity needs from renewable sources.
- As an investor, you can support more sustainable energy services, which will bring new technologies to the market quickly from a diverse supplier base.
- As a country, we can accelerate the transition to an affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy system by investing in renewable energy resources, prioritizing energy efficient practices, and adopting clean energy technologies and infrastructures.
- By 2030, ensure universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services
- By 2030, increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix
- By 2030, double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency
- By 2030, enhance international cooperation to facilitate access to clean energy research and technology, including renewable energy, energy efficiency and advanced and cleaner fossil-fuel technology, and promote investment in energy infrastructure and clean energy technology
- By 2030, expand infrastructure and upgrade technology for supplying modern and sustainable energy services for all in developing countries, in particular least developed countries, small island developing States, and landlocked developing countries, in accordance with their respective programmes of support
• As a member of society, your active engagement in policy-making ensures that your voice is heard, knowledge is shared, and that critical thinking is encouraged at all ages. Policymakers can help generate job opportunities and fiscal policies that stimulate pro-poor growth and reduce poverty.
• As a member of the science and academic community, you can help discover sustainable solutions for the challenges of reducing poverty. Thanks to this community, there is now greater access to safe drinking water, reduced deaths caused by water-borne diseases, and improved hygiene to reduce health risks related to unsafe drinking water and lack of sanitation.
What can I
do about it
You can help create a community of people and participate in the decision-making and implementation processes. Educate yourself about the issues we face as a global family, connect with like-minded people and take action.
Ask questions to your leaders about what they’re doing in regards to affordable energy. Focus your attention on actionable steps because no step is too small to make a difference. Join our community and help create a better world.