World not on track on global energy targets – Report

The world is not on track to meet the global energy targets for 2030 set as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), but real progress is being made in certain areas, a new report has said.

According to the report from five international agencies dubbed “Tracking SDG7: The Energy Progress Report”, real progress was being made in areas such as expansion of access to electricity in least developed countries, and industrial energy efficiency.

The Report is a joint effort of the International Energy Agency (IEA), the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD), the World Bank, and the World Health Organization (WHO).

The report, which was made available to the Ghana News Agency by the World Bank, indicated that renewable energy was making impressive gains in the electricity sector, although these were not being matched in transportation and heating – which together accounted for 80 per cent of global energy consumption. 

It said while global trends were disappointing, recent national experiences around the world offered encouraging signs.

It said there was mounting evidence that with the right approaches and policies, countries could make substantial progress in clean energy and energy access, and improve the lives of millions of people.

Tracking SDG7: The Energy Progress Report is the most comprehensive look available at the world’s progress towards the global energy targets on access to electricity, clean cooking, renewable energy and energy efficiency. 

Findings were based on official national-level data and measure global progress up to 2015 for renewable energy and energy efficiency, and 2016 for access to electricity and clean cooking.

On access to electricity, it said one billion people – or 13 per cent of the world’s population – still lived without electricity.

It said Sub-Saharan Africa, and Central and South Asia continued to be the areas of the world with the largest access deficits.

It noted that almost 87 per cent of the world’s people without electricity lived in rural areas.

It said the number of people gaining access to power had been accelerating since 2010, but needed to ramp up further to achieve universal access to electricity by 2030.

The report said if current trends continued, an estimated 674 million people would still live without electricity in 2030.

On clean cooking, the report said three billion people – or more than 40 per cent of the world’s population – did not have access to clean cooking fuels and technologies.

It said household air pollution from burning biomass for cooking and heating was responsible for some four million deaths a year, with women and children at the greatest risk. 

Concerning energy efficiency, the report said there was mounting evidence of the uncoupling of growth and energy use.

It said global gross domestic product (GDP) grew nearly twice as fast as primary energy supply in 2010-15.

With regard to renewable energy, the report said as of 2015, the world obtained 17.5 per cent of its total final energy consumption from renewable sources, of which 9.6 per cent represented modern forms of renewable energy such as geothermal, hydropower, solar and wind.

It said the remainder was traditional uses of biomass (such as fuelwood and charcoal).

“The experience of countries that have substantially increased the number of people with electricity in a short space of time holds out real hope that we can reach the billion people who still live without power,” said Mr Riccardo Puliti, Senior Director for Energy and Extractives at the World Bank.

“We know that with the right policies, a commitment to on-grid and off-grid solutions, well-tailored financing structures, and mobilization of the private sector, huge gains can be made in only a few years.

“This in turn is having real, positive impacts on the development prospects and quality of life for millions of people.”

Tracking SDG7: The Energy Progress Report is the fourth edition of the report, formerly known as the Global Tracking Framework (GTF). 

Source: GNA

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