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Current Efforts Are Not Enough To Achieve SDG 7: Report 2.1 billion people still live without access to clean cooking fuels and technologies, with the number remaining largely flat last year.

By Priyanka Tanwer

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A Household Using Multiple Clean And Transitional/Polluting Fuels And Technologies Simultaneously In India.

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), a latest report by International Energy Agency (IEA) suggest that the world remains off course to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 for energy by 2030.

SDG 7 is to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy. The goal includes reaching universal access to electricity and clean cooking, doubling historic levels of efficiency improvements, and substantially increasing the share of renewables in the global energy mix.

Attaining this goal will have a deep impact on people's health and well-being, helping to protect them from environmental and social risks such as air pollution, and expanding access to primary health care and services.

The report warns that current efforts are not enough to achieve the SDG 7 on time. There has been some progress on specific elements of the SDG 7 agenda including the increased rate of renewables deployment in the power sector. However, progress is insufficient to reach the targets set forth in the SDGs.

According to the report, the number of people without access to electricity increased for the first time in over a decade, as population grew—mostly in Sub-Saharan Africa—at a higher rate than that of new electricity connections, leaving 685 million people without electricity in 2022, 10 million more than in 2021.

Meanwhile, 2.1 billion people still live without access to clean cooking fuels and technologies, with the number remaining largely flat last year. This carries with it huge implications for health, gender equality, and the environment, contributing to 3.2 million premature deaths each year.

New global targets pledged by over 130 countries in the UAE Consensus reinforce the objectives of SDG 7 by aiming to triple renewable generating capacity and double the rate of energy efficiency.

2022 saw a reversal in progress, with the number of people living without electricity growing for the first time in over a decade. Today, 685 million people live without access – 10 million more than in 2021. In 2022, 570 million people in sub-Saharan Africa are living without electricity, accounting for more than 80 per cent of the global population without access. The access deficit in the region has seen an uptick relative to 2010 levels.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization said, "Air pollution and energy poverty are claiming lives, inflicting suffering and hindering development. Transitioning more rapidly to clean energy and cooking technologies is essential for protecting the health of the 2.1 billion people without access, and the health of the planet on which all life depends."

Renewable electricity consumption grew more than 6 per cent year-on-year in 2021, bringing the share of renewables in global electricity consumption to 28.2 per cent.

By 2030, under current policies there are still 660 million people lacking electricity access and around 1.8 billion without access to clean cooking technologies and fuels. Progress in energy efficiency rates also lags, reaching just 2.3 per cent, well below the level needed to reach the SDG 7 target.

Fatih Birol, Executive Director, International Energy Agency said, "To achieve Sustainable Development Goal 7, we will need much more investment in emerging and developing economies to expand access to electricity and to clean cooking technologies and fuels. Today, only a fraction of total energy investment is going to the countries where the problems of electricity access and clean cooking are critical, not least in Sub-Saharan Africa. In addition to climate and environmental benefits, addressing these challenges will bring a range of societal and economic advantages, linked to gender equality, health, education and employment. Our recent Summit on Clean Cooking in Africa mobilised USD 2.2 billion, building momentum for further progress"

Priyanka Tanwer

Sr. Correspondent

With eight years of experience covering various beats for the digital and print media, now covering electric vehicles and sustainability for Entrepreneur India, keeping a nose for innovation and new technology in this futuristic sector. You can reach me at tpriyanka@entrepreneurindia.com     
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