Sustainable energy for everyone
A global shift is from fossil fuels to more sustainable and efficient energy systems is needed to tackle climate change and eradicate poverty.
Two thirds of current fossil fuel resources must stay in the ground and new exploration halted to stay below the climate change defence line of 1.5°C. Stopping emissions from coal, the most polluting fossil fuel, is most urgent.
Currently billions of people around the world do not modern energy, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa and developing Asia. The new Sustainable Development Goals include ensuring universal access to affordable, reliable sustainable and modern energy by 2030. Most energy poor people live in remote rural areas, so this requires greater support for off-grid, largely renewable electricity and clean, safe cooking.
CAFOD’s work in Kenya shows how solar electricity can help lift people out of poverty- improving food and water security, health and education services, as well as powering farms and businesses. More efficient cookstoves protect women and girls from the health impacts of indoor air pollution – the biggest environmental killer ahead of malaria or unsafe water – and support their empowerment.
All public support for energy should get behind the sustainable energy shift. Research by ODI for CAFOD shows that from 2010-17 the UK spent more on supporting fossil fuels in developing countries than on low carbon energy with only a small amount going to energy access.
CAFOD’s policy work on sustainable energy includes: financing energy access, designing energy delivery models for people living in poverty, UK support for energy in developing countries, Energy SDG7 implementation, coal and energy poverty, UK export finance support for coal.