The price of power: poverty, climate change, the coming energy crisis and the renewable revolution

The price of power: poverty, climate change, the coming energy crisis and the renewable revolution

Increased investment in renewable energy could save millions of lives

This report argues that a continuing reliance on fossil fuels will perpetuate poverty and could drive a huge "reversal of human progress." It stipulates that increased investment in renewable energy could save millions of lives and avert an impending crisis over global energy supplies, and that even a relatively small shift in investment in the energy sector in percentage terms could have hugely beneficial consequences for people's health and economic wellbeing. The report also argues against the current subsidies for coal, oil and gas, which it estimates amount to at least US$235 billion each year.

The report finds that:

  • one year's worth of global fossil fuel subsidies could comfortably pay off Sub-Saharan Africa's (SSA) entire international debt burden with billions left over
  • only 1-3% out of the $40 billion spent annually on energy investment in developing countries goes towards renewables
  • all of non-electrified SSA could be provided with energy from small-scale solar facilities for less than 70% of what OECD countries spend on subsidising dirty energy every year
  • by spending just five per cent of their total annual overseas aid budget on clean-technology stoves for poor households, OECD nations could help save over 25 million lives over the next decade
  • one year's worth of World-Bank spending on fossil fuel projects, if redirected to small-scale solar installations in SSA, could provide 10 million people on the continent with electricity
  • the annual amount tied to investments in coal, oil and gas projects in the developing world between 1992 and 2002 by the United States' twin export guarantee agencies could have provided over 30 million people in SSA each year with solar electricity.

[adapted from author]

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