Here is what you need to know about so-called "energy poverty." Around the world, about 1.1 billion people don't have access to power - and those who don't have access to energy will likely remain poor without being connected to a power source. In Liberia, only 2% of people have regular access to energy. Africa is one story, but did you also know that one in three developing countries still experience 20 hours of power outages a month? Here are four facts that we should all know about energy poverty:
1. We need to address energy poverty if we want to end poverty. As mentioned above, poverty and energy poverty go hand-in-hand. It's a vicious circle - if one is fixed, the other will follow. Access to energy is vital in the fight against poverty.
2. Providing energy needs to be sustainable. Energy adoption is growing faster than ever before, which is great news! But, renewable energy is not keeping up with the pace. In addition, wealthy countries have to improve their energy efficiency, because energy saved is energy that can be used elsewhere. Liter of Light uses solar power and recycled materials to provide affordable, sustainable light to people and communities with limited or no access to power.
3. Finances are an obstacle, but so are political issues. One of the big problems with the developing world is untargeted fossil fuel subsidies, which cost a lot, impair conservation efforts and benefit the rich, who use more energy than the poor. A lot of money is spent on these subsidies, which could be shifted into development concerns. Another issue is the amount of capital that renewables require, which can be very challenging to raise in unstable political environments. Countries are beginning to adopt policy incentives to address these matters, but there's still a long way to go.
4. The World Bank Group is taking energy poverty seriously. In a blog post from The Huffington Post, (from which this information is sourced), COO and Managing Director of the World Bank, Sri Mulyani Indrawati, explained that the World Bank is fully aware of what is needed to supply the world with sustainable energy. She writes that it will require tripling what the world has historically invested in access and clean energy projects. She also mentions that they are hopeful that energy poverty eradication is among the top priorities that the global community will recognize.
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