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SDG 7 – Affordable And Clean Energy

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The focus of sdg7 is on affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy. Three goals are at the heart of it: ensuring that all people have access to energy services(7.1), increasing renewable energy’s share in the energy mix (7.2), and increasing energy efficiency (7.3). Enhancing international cooperation and encouraging investment, as well as expanding infrastructure and upgrading technology in developing countries, are among the top priorities for implementing SDGP7. While sdg7 (along with sdg13) has the fewest targets of any sdg, it is no less important as a development priority. While sdg7 (along with sdg13) has the fewest targets of any sdg, it is no less important as a development priority. Indeed, modern energy is critical to human development: it sparked the industrial revolution more than two centuries ago and has been a key contributor to the world’s near-constant economic growth since then. The services that energy enables – from mobility to manufacturing, agriculture to heating and lighting – are ubiquitous in the industrialized world, and have been around for so long that most people don’t realize what makes them possible. However, not everyone has reaped the benefits that modern energy sources can provide.

Energy resources are unevenly distributed throughout the world, and where they do exist and are relatively easy to produce, the necessary energy extraction and conversion infrastructure (e.g., gas drilling, oil refineries, wind turbines, and electricity transmission lines) costs a lot of money to put in place. Due to financial and human capital constraints, some of us are frequently left out of the modern energy society. Progress on the many other sdg dimensions will influence and be influenced by achieving the sdg7 targets. While this is the focus of the current chapter, it is also important to note that the three energy targets themselves have interlinkages (some positive, others negative).

Distributed renewable energy sources (solar, biogas, etc.) could, for example, assist rural communities in gaining access to energy.7.1The goal of poverty eradication can be achieved by ensuring that the world’s poor have access to affordable, reliable, and modern energy services. However, if the costs of transitioning to a low-carbon economy are not buffered in some way, decarbonizing energy systems by promoting renewables and increasing efficiency could result in price shocks. This could obstruct universal energy access, as higher energy prices would exacerbate the difficulties of raising the world’s poorest people’s standard of living. Many small-scale renewable energy technologies (such as household solar photovoltaic systems) have seen significant reductions in investment costs in recent years, and are now the cheapest electricity source in some areas.7.2Bioenergy, as a renewable energy source, is likely to become a larger part of the energy mix in the future. Commercializing bioenergy could result in more agricultural and forestry jobs being created, as well as higher wages and more diverse income streams for landowners (aiding food security). Developing agrofuels, on the other hand, could result in higher global food prices (and thus reduced access to affordable food for the poor), as well as competition between agrofuels and food crops for scarce agricultural land, water, and energy. Another important interaction for agricultural operations is energy. Providing energy to impoverished farmers will make it easier for them to pump groundwater and mechanize their farm equipment, resulting in higher food crop yields.

It will also make it easier to maintain cold chains (temperature-controlled supply chains) for marketing produce, resulting in greater regional diet diversity.7.3The sdg7 goals are inextricably linked to significant reductions in air pollution. Improving air quality, and thus human health, is especially important for people who live in densely populated urban areas in both developed and developing countries. Thermal comfort (heating and cooling) and cooking are essential for good health, highlighting the importance of ensuring affordable and reliable energy access. Refrigeration, which contributes to food conservation throughout the supply chain and helps avoid the health risks associated with bacterial contamination, requires energy. Refrigeration allows rural communities to store the medicines and vaccines they need to keep their communities healthy.7.4Schools and households that are well-lit, well-heated, and well-cooled are essential for creating comfortable learning environments for children and adults while also reducing reliance on natural daylight variations. Modern learning technologies, which are based on information and communication technologies, require energy input as well. Energy sustainability knowledge and skills may then influence which technological, financial, and political solutions are feasible to implement.

As a result, quality education is a key enabler in achieving sdg7. Energy is also an important part of science education, and better incorporating it into school curricula may lead to increased science literacy at all levels of society.7.5Access to energy would increase the number and variety of opportunities available to women, such as allowing them to work from home and generate an independent source of income. The effects will be felt most acutely at the household level, with societal implications emerging over time. Because they are often the ones who benefit the most from the use of cleaner, easier-to-obtain fuels for cooking and lighting, the more empowered women become, the more likely they are to push local initiatives that directly benefit them from an energy-access perspective.7.6Water is required for thermal cooling and resource extraction, and wastewater from the energy sector releases large amounts of thermal and chemical pollution into aquatic ecosystems. In most cases, switching from fossil fuels to renewables and increasing energy efficiency would help achieve sustainability goals such as water access, scarcity, management, and pollution. However, if not properly managed, some renewable energy sources (such as bioenergy and hydropower) may have counteracting effects that exacerbate existing water-related issues. Renewable energy and energy-efficient technologies can help to boost innovation while also supporting local, regional, and national industrial and employment goals.

Active measures may be required to mitigate the negative effects of a large-scale transition to renewable energy on those currently employed in the fossil fuels industry: government assistance may be required to assist businesses in retooling and workers in retraining. Because fossil fuel development is highly concentrated, whereas renewable energy projects are spread across large geographic areas, workforce migration may be required. With so many interactions between the various sdg targets, it is clear that government-led actions and policies will be critical in ensuring that positive outcomes are achieved as often as possible while negative outcomes are minimized or avoided. This necessitates, now more than ever, policy frameworks that are holistic and integrated. Effective implementation will necessitate proactive engagement and improved coordination across government departments and ministries, as well as across different levels of government (from international to national to local). Otherwise, the policymaking “silo approach” may continue indefinitely.

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