The world is faced with an accelerating climate crisis. People who live in poverty in low and middle-income countries have contributed the least to climate change, yet they are the most vulnerable to its impacts. They are often directly dependent on natural resources to sustain their livelihoods. The impact of climate change is already putting a stress on these resources. Food shortages, increased food prices and lack of access to water are just some of the consequences of extreme weather events, such as drought and flooding.
The core of the climate crisis is the energy sector´s burning of fossil fuels, since it is the largest contributor to GHG emissions. A rapid and just transformation of the energy sector, from fossil fuels to renewable energy, is needed to combat climate change. At the same time, the transformation must meet the needs of nearly one billion people – mostly concentrated in rural Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia – that still live without access to electricity and hundreds of millions more living with unreliable or expensive, unaffordable electricity.
Poverty reduction, energy access goals and climate goals are inextricably linked and require urgent and bold action. Given the World Bank Group’s (WBG) mandate to eradicate extreme poverty, it is important to assess how the development institution approaches energy access and climate goals andwhether it is taking the urgent actions needed to address both. A new paper by Recourse, Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC) and the African Coalition for Sustainable Energy and Access (ACSEA) provides a summary of assessments done on WBG energy sector assistance to three high energy deficit countries facing significant climate change threats: Nigeria, Mozambique, and Myanmar. Nigeria has over 87 million people living without access to electricity; Mozambique has over 22 million; and Myanmar has more than 35 million.
Some of the key findings of this paper are:
Augustine Njamshi of the African Coalition for Sustainable Energy and Access said: “Given the WBG’s warning that without urgent action, climate change impacts could push an additional 100 million people into poverty by 2030, no WBG public assistance should be used to develop fossil fuels.”
Anna Ostergren of the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation further adds that: “Given the WBG’s finance directed at new household connections represents a relatively small percentage of overall energy sector finance in a given country (10% in Mozambique), the WBG can and should direct more finance to connections.” She adds that “a 10-year WBG funding commitment needs to be reflected in updated Bank country strategies for each country.”
Nezir Sinani of Recourse concludes that: “With the vast majority of people without energy access living in rural communities, the WBG needs toexponentially scale up funding for mini- and off-grid renewable energy solutions across all high energy deficit countries.” He further continues: “given that the electrification rate is inadequate, the WBG should assist the government to identify where gaps exist and how the gaps will be addressed in order for them to achieve annual electrification targets necessary to reach universal access by 2030.”
For more information, please contact:
Augustine NJamshi of the African Coalition for Sustainable Energy and Access
+23 7777 652 30 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Anna Östergren of the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation in Sweden
+46 76 169 5489 or email@example.com
Nezir Sinani of Recourse in the Netherlands
+31 61 482 0789 or firstname.lastname@example.org