Tackling the ethical issue of eradicating energy poverty
18th Aug, 2023
At the G20 meetings in Goa, India, energy ministers debated climate change and the shift to clean energy. A delegate mentioned the ethics-climate change link, prompting officials to suggest an approach to ethical aspects of the energy transition.
Key-highlights of the discussion:
Severity of the Problems:
- Nearly 700 million people lack access to clean energy, and nearly 2.3 billion people are still burning firewood, farm waste and animals for cooking.
- This causes the death of nearly 4 million people annually, most of them women and children, as a result of pollution, according to the agency’s report, quoting the World Health Organization.
- Energy Transition and Ethics: The leaders highlighted the neglect of a significant ethical concern during discussions about energy transition and climate change. Millions of people globally suffer from energy poverty, a critical issue that needs attention.
- Energy Poverty in Host Country – India: Despite being the host country, India faces energy poverty to some extent. India has made considerable progress in addressing energy poverty, but challenges remain.
- Ethics and Energy Transition: Some participants passionately brought ethics into the conversation about energy transition. They emphasized that the ethical aspect often overlooked is the lack of access to electrical energy for approximately 700 million people worldwide.
Ethical Considerations in Energy Transition:
- Energy Poverty:
- Millions of people worldwide lack access to reliable and affordable energy.
- Transitioning to cleaner energy sources should address energy poverty and provide equitable energy access.
- Environmental Impact:
- The shift to renewable energy aims to reduce environmental harm.
- Ethical concerns involve minimizing ecological damage and protecting ecosystems during this transition.
- Just Transition:
- Ensuring a fair and just transition for workers and communities dependent on fossil fuel industries.
- Ethical responsibility lies in minimizing job losses and supporting affected communities.
- Global Responsibility:
- Developed nations often have higher carbon footprints, contributing to climate change.
- Ethical considerations demand that these countries take a lead in transitioning and support less-developed nations.
- Technological Equity:
- Balancing technological advancements with affordability to prevent creating disparities.
- Ethical energy transition should prioritize accessible technologies for all socio-economic groups.
- Inter-Generational Equity:
- Transition decisions impact future generations.
- Ethical responsibility involves minimizing negative consequences for future populations.
- Transparency and Participation:
- Including diverse voices in decision-making processes to ensure a just transition.
- Ethical energy transition respects democratic values and promotes inclusivity.
- Climate Justice:
- Addressing climate change-induced vulnerabilities faced by marginalized communities.
- Ethical considerations emphasize the need for equitable solutions and supporting those disproportionately affected.
- Long-Term Sustainability:
- Prioritizing long-term benefits over short-term gains in energy transition.
- Ethical decision-making focuses on creating sustainable solutions for the future.
- Social and Economic Impact:
- Understanding and mitigating potential negative social and economic consequences of energy transition.
- Ethical approach entails balancing environmental benefits with social well-being.
There is need for the leaders to commit and allocate a separate clause for energy poverty, methods to eliminate it in clear language and a plan that can be monitored and measured. This ensures more just, equitable and fair energy transition for all.