Monday, August 12, 2013

The Funding Gap

 Small amounts of energy can make a huge difference in the lives of the poor. The average person without adequate access to energy lives on less than $2 U.S. a day. This makes it difficult for them to access good services. The access to energy is no doubt costly and the initial expenditure can be expensive. However, the impact it would have would be money well spent.

The funding gap in providing energy access for the poor is very large. Providing energy access to the poor has been something that has not been seriously addresses by existing financial institutions. In order to provide energy to all, political will and commitment from governments need to prioritize the investment. It is estimated that $435 billion would be needed to provide electricity to the entire population. Another $150 billion would be needed to give 50% of the population the ability to switch to other fuels other than solid biomass. This would provide access to clean and efficient cooking. To meet these needs of those without energy, the global energy investment would only need to increase by 2.85%. This funding could potentially come from international aid, multilateral financing, climate change financial mechanisms, governments, and private sector investment.

Over the past 30 years the international community has not made providing the poor with adequate and clean energy a priority. The prior approaches have failed because they have not focused on delivering the actual needs of the poor, so the benefits have gone to the wealthier groups. Not only that, but many attempts have been unsustainable and driven by short term donor requirements.

It is important that we the people know what is going on in the world with energy poverty, as well as know the cost it would take to eliminate it. When the numbers are initially laid out, they can look massive and unachievable, but when a number like 2.85% is shown it looks much more attainable. The global energy investment would only have to increase by 2.85% to solve this global epidemic! So what can you do? Educate yourself and others on the issue, and take a stand! As a society we need to demand this problem to be solved. We need to make our voices heard, and stand up for what is right. It's time we make it a priority, because everyone deserves the access to clean and sustainable energy.
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