Sustainable energy for everyone

Rose cooking dinner

Cooking with biomass, Kenya 

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 2010-14 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.


Resources on sustainable energy for everyone

Found 8 results

  • Beyond coal: Scaling up clean energy to fight global poverty Beyond coal: Scaling up clean energy to fight global poverty (2mb, pdf)
    CAFOD, ODI, Christian Aid, Oxfam et al

    Eradicating global poverty is within reach, but under threat from a changing climate. Coal is the world’s number one source of CO2 emissions. It is widely accepted that a rapid and just response to climate change will require the urgent replacement of coal with low-carbon energy sources in rich economies.

    Now the coal industry claims that expanding coal use is critical to fighting extreme poverty and improving energy access for billions of people in developing countries. In fact, the opposite is true. The global commitment to eradicate extreme poverty and energy poverty by 2030 does not require such an expansion and it is incompatible with stabilising the earth’s climate. The evidence is clear: a lasting solution to poverty requires the world’s wealthiest economies to renounce coal, and we can and must end extreme poverty without the precipitous expansion of new coal power in developing ones.  

    This paper explores the role of energy in fighting poverty, arguing that:

    • More coal will not end energy poverty
    • Coal is given too much credit for the reduction of extreme poverty
    • Better energy options exist to lift people out of income poverty
    • More coal will entrench poverty.
  • Ending energy poverty by 2030 - FAQs Ending energy poverty by 2030 - FAQs (2mb, pdf)

    The UK has promised to support the SDGs, including SDG7 on universal access to affordable, reliable and sustainable modern energy as a priority for DFID. UK support must be targeted, joined-up - and all of it must be consistent with climate change and poverty reduction objectives - if we are to help countries shift or “leapfrog” to more sustainable energy systems that leave no-one behind, and more widely protect the poorest communities and countries from the impacts of a changing climate. Understanding energy poverty and how to end it – including busting a number of myths – is important if we are to achieve SDG7 in the next 15 years. These FAQs are part of CAFOD’s contribution to building this understanding among UK decision-makers.

  • Energy Sustainable Development Goals Indicators briefing Mar 2015 Energy Sustainable Development Goals Indicators briefing Mar 2015 (914kb, pdf)

    The discussions on new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have recognised that access to sustainable energy is crucial for many areas of development, as well as for addressing climate change. Proposed SDG 7 aims to “ensure access to affordable, sustainable, reliable, and modern energy services for all”, with targets on universal access to energy, increasing the share of renewables in the global energy mix and doubling the annual rate of improvement in energy intensity. This briefing discusses how the energy targets must be sufficiently ambitious to bring about meaningful change and require indicators that “measure what matters” and track progress through clear milestones. It discusses whether the indicators currently under discussion are fit for purpose and suggests changes to ensure they can deliver real change on the ground.

  • Civil Society Participation in the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative: A survey of 6 countries, 2014 Civil Society Participation in the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative: A survey of 6 countries, 2014 (2mb, pdf)

    Meaningful participation of civil society is key to the success of the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) initiative. Civil society organizations can act as trusted intermediaries between government, the private sector, and energy users on the ground, as well as having expertise in designing and delivering energy services, particularly for poor and vulnerable groups. The aim of this paper is to provide a ‘snapshot’ of the civil society experience of SE4ALL to date in order to understand the entry points for – and some of the challenges of – participation.

    >> Download the report in Spanish: Participación de la Sociedad Civil en la iniciativa de Energía Sostenible para Todos: Encuesta realizada en seis países

  • Energy in the post-2015 Development Framework, 2014 Energy in the post-2015 Development Framework, 2014 (5mb, pdf)

    Access to affordable and reliable energy services is crucial to the success of the post-2015 development framework. Shifting to more sustainable and efficient energy systems globally is also crucial for tackling climate change - the most serious threat to future poverty eradication. This briefing argues for a holistic approach to energy within the post-2015 framework that focuses on development impact with cross-cutting targets and meaningful indicators. 

    >> Download the report in SpanishEnergía en el Marco de Desarrollo después del 2015

    >> Download the report in French: L’énergie dans le cadre de développement post-2015

Back to top