675 million people live without electricity worldwide
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The world is not on track to meet its target to ensure clean and affordable energy access for all by 2030, a UN report has found.
The report has found that about 675 million people live without electricity worldwide, with 80 per cent of those without access to power – 567 million in 2021 – living in sub-Saharan Africa.
The research was published by the International Energy Agency (IEA), the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD), the World Bank, and the World Health Organization (WHO).
The investigation's findings concluded that the world is not on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7, which aims to ensure access to clean, affordable energy for all by 2030.
Although global access to electricity increased from 84 per cent in 2010 to 91 per cent in 2021, from 2019 onwards the world has seen "a recent slowdown in the global pace of electrification," said World Bank vice president for infrastructure Guangzhe Chen.
The report said that at current rates, 660 million people are projected to be without electricity and 1.9 billion won't have clean cooking opportunities by 2030. Citing IRENA data, it also cautioned that public financial flows supporting clean energy in poorer countries had been decreasing even before the Covid-19 pandemic hit.
"The energy crisis sparked by Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues to have a profound impact on people all around the world," said IEA executive director Fatih Birol. "High energy prices have hit the most vulnerable hard, particularly those in developing economies."
He added that while the transition to clean energy is taking place at a rapid pace, there is still a large amount to be done to bridge the energy gap.
Francesco La Camera, director-general of IRENA, said: “Cost-competitive renewable energy has yet again demonstrated remarkable resilience, but the poorest in the world are still largely unable to fully benefit from it.”
The report also highlighted that up to 2.3 billion people around the world are still using polluting fuels to cook. According to the WHO data, 3.2 million people die each year from illnesses caused by the use of polluting fuels and technologies.
"We must protect the next generation by acting now," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in the statement. "Clean cooking technologies in homes and reliable electricity in healthcare facilities can play a crucial role in protecting the health of our most vulnerable populations."
Chen added: “We must protect the next generation by acting now. Investing in clean and renewable solutions to support universal energy access is how we can make real change. Clean cooking technologies in homes and reliable electricity in healthcare facilities can play a crucial role in protecting the health of our most vulnerable populations.”
In order to address this challenge, the report calls for structural reform of international public finance and further investment in the sector.
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