Monday, May 15, 2017

The Energy Poor

It may be the 21st century but more than three billion people still use fire for cooking and heating. Of those, one billion people have no access to electricity.

 At the current pace in 2030 there will still be one person in ten without electricity, according to the Global Tracking Framework 2017 report

In Chad, Niger, South Sudan and Democratic Republic of the Congo only one person in ten currently has access and this is falling as populations increase.

The current number of people still using traditional, solid fuels to cook increased slightly since 2011 to 3.04 billion. Those fuels are responsible for deadly levels of indoor air pollution that shorten the lives of tens of millions and kill four million, mainly children, every year according to the World Health Organization.
This seems to be a low priority and by 2030 only 72 percent of the world will be using clean cooking fuels, said Portale. In other words, 2.5 billion people – mostly in the Asia-Pacific region and Africa – will still be burning wood, charcoal or dung to cook their foods. Clean cooking is not a priority for most governments.
One reason clean cooking is a low priority is that men are largely the decisions makers in governments and at the household level and they often are not involved in cooking. Environmental health issues generally get far less attention from governments she said. “Sadly, it’s often mobile phones before toilets,”  said Vivien Foster, Global Lead for Energy Economics, Markets & Institutions, The World Bank. 

Although renewable energy like solar and wind gets a great deal of press and attention, the world is failing to meet the SDG target of decarbonizing 36 percent the global energy system and will only get to 21 percent by 2030. Currently it is about 18 percent since renewables include hydropower and biomass. A few countries managed to increase their renewable share by 1 percent per year but some others like Canada and Brazil are actually going backwards.

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