July 27, 2016 by Shanna Edberg
Although it might sound contradictory, it is possible to both reduce carbon emissions and improve access to affordable energy. Below is a collection of resources to help us multisolve and accomplish both goals.
Billions of people in the developing world are energy poor - they lack access to electricity and clean cooking facilities. In the developed world, energy poverty is more often a problem of affordability; low-income households tend to live in inefficient homes and spend a greater portion of their income on energy bills. Eliminating energy poverty by providing access to renewable, affordable energy for all would reduce greenhouse gas emissions, boost the global economy, and improve the health and well-being of billions of people around the world.
As you will see in the resource section below,** most proposals for ending energy poverty while helping the climate center around improving energy efficiency or expanding renewable energy. **Energy efficiency is typically proposed as a solution for cities and developed countries, while expanding access to renewable energy is seen as a solution in rural areas and in developing countries.
The goals of eliminating energy poverty and mitigating climate change must be combined, or else run the risk that acting on one goal will harm the other. For example, a carbon tax that is implemented without also bolstering energy efficiency may have the unintended consequence of pushing the energy poor deeper into poverty, since they will face higher energy prices. Similarly, subsidies that make energy more affordable can increase dependence on fossil fuels that cause climate change. (Energy Efficiency)
Gender is an important factor in alleviating energy poverty. Men and women in different communities may use energy differently, and different solutions are needed to reach both groups. For example, cooking takes up a significant amount of energy as well as a very large portion of women’s time and effort in developing countries. Therefore, any intervention that aims to create positive impacts on the environment and in women’s well-being must address their cooking needs. (General)
When building access to renewable energy in rural areas, offering other low-carbon products along with the energy can raise the impact of the energy investment, increase the co-benefits, and help secure financing. For example, when people are connected to solar power, they become more interested in solar lighting and cookstoves, which can aid health and safety and provide economic opportunities. So offering the energy along with household products to use that energy can open up opportunities to create additional impacts and secure financing for the energy provider. (Renewable Energy)
Note that this is not an exhaustive list of publications, nor is it in any particular order. If you would like to add your publication or resource to this list, please contact us at multisolving(at)climateinteractive(dot)org.