In September 2015, within the framework of the 70th session of the UN General Assembly, the Sustainable Development Summit was held in New York, at which new development guidelines were approved. The final document of the Summit “Transforming Our World: An Agenda for Sustainable Development until 2030” approved 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets.
The seventh goal is aimed at solving the problems of energy poverty, economic accessibility of energy resources, as well as ensuring sustainable energy development. Fossil fuels release carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide, which can have very negative impacts on our environment and exacerbate climate change. To achieve this goal, all countries of the world need to triple the annual volume of investments in sustainable energy infrastructure from the current level.
Energy is central to nearly every major challenge and opportunity the world faces today. Whether it’s jobs, security, climate change, food production or increased income, access to energy for all is a determining factor. Sustainable energy is essential to strengthen economies, protect ecosystems and achieve social justice.
More than a billion people around the world lack access to electricity, and countries that generate enough electricity have a dual challenge – to meet the rapidly growing demand for electricity and to protect the environment. Nuclear power is a reliable, low-carbon energy source. Many countries are currently introducing it into their energy mix or considering it as part of their efforts to achieve UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7, which provides access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.
World Energy Facts
- Energy is key to addressing humanity’s major challenges – whether it is jobs, security, climate change, food production or increased income – access to energy is always a determining factor.
- The main problem associated with Goal 7 is the lack of electricity in many regions of the world. More than a billion people – one in five people worldwide – lack access to electricity. Half of these people live in sub-Saharan Africa.
- About 3 billion people use wood or plant debris for cooking and heating.
- The other side of the problem is air pollution from coal, oil and gas power plants. Energy is the dominant driver of climate change, accounting for 60% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
- Air pollution from cooking and heating using combustible fuels is responsible for 4.3 million deaths a year, with six out of ten fatalities being women and girls.
Why is it important?
Our daily lives depend on reliable and affordable energy services, as well as their continuity and equitable development. A properly designed energy system contributes to the development of all sectors, from entrepreneurship, health and education to agriculture, infrastructure, communications and high technology. Conversely, lack of access to energy supply and energy conversion systems is an obstacle to human and economic development.
Electricity, automated vehicles and information technology are essential for economic development and are integral elements of modern society. Thus, affordable and reliable energy sources and systems that ensure their uninterrupted operation can be classified as “modern”. Population growth in India, sub-Saharan Africa and other developing regions will continue. Economic consumption per capita will also grow, creating an increased demand for the services described above, and, accordingly, for access to modern energy.
Meeting this growing energy demand will become one of the most important challenges of the 21st century and, in fact, for this reason, the problem of providing people with electricity is at the center of the SDG targets. It also brings us to the last element of SDG 7: sustainability.
How many people do not have access to electricity?
1.2 billion people do not have access to electricity, that is, every fifth inhabitant of the Earth. Most of these people live in about 12 countries in Africa and Asia. In the absence of electricity, women and girls are forced to spend a lot of time fetching water, vaccines for children cannot be stored in clinics, many schoolchildren cannot do their homework at night, and entrepreneurs cannot compete. An additional 2.8 billion people use wood, charcoal, dung and coal for cooking and heating, causing more than 4 million indoor air pollution deaths each year.
Recent advances in green energy provide hope that universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy will be ensured. The rate of electrification is outstripping the rate of population growth in many countries. In addition, energy efficiency continues to improve, resulting in reduced carbon dioxide emissions and lower energy demand, while increasing the affordability of energy. While the electricity sector has seen an increase in renewable energy production, there is also a need to expand its use in sectors such as transport, heating and cooling. Despite some progress, 41 percent of the world’s population still lacks access to clean fuels and cooking technologies.
Access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy is integral to global development in the 21st century. Not all solutions to this problem have been found yet, and the measures that have already been decided to be taken are sometimes not so easy to implement. Finding these solutions and applying them to different situations will be challenging. Nevertheless, this goal is achievable, provided that international organizations can show sufficient foresight, national governments work together, and local communities and citizens themselves have good reasons and the necessary funds to do this. SDG 7 is a small but important step in this direction.
Latitudo 40’s effort with SDG 7
Latitudo 40 embraces point 7 of the Agenda 2030. Our team is constantly working to create new services in the field of sustainable energy.
With our Urban Monitoring platform, we analyze the potential of new solar panel installations and monitor existing plants, estimating the production capacity of new installations detecting, thanks to artificial intelligence applied to satellite images, any potential malfunctions that may reduce the production capacity