Sunday, 24 October, 2021

Sustainable Energy For All

Energy has been an indispensable element in every moment of life. Without energy, people’s daily routine and works become chaotic and disrupted. The use of various forms of energy -- electricity, solar, wind power, geothermal and biomass, among others -- are the key to sustenance of human life. In fact, the discovery of fire -- the biomass energy -- heralded the human civilisation on the earth. As the primitive human started to eat roasted and cooked food, especially meat, there was qualitative transformation in brain and physics of prehistoric humans. In modern time, the use of coal, oil and natural gas facilitated the Industrial and Agricultural Revolution in 18th and 19th century. With the increase in population, the demand for the renewable energy, which causes no harm to health and environment, grew exponentially. As the coal and oil were exploited excessively for energy purpose, it polluted the environment and increased global warming.

This forces the countries across the world to turn to alternative or renewable energy, which are not only clean but can also be supplied to the energy deficit places promptly, making a significant change to the socio-economic status of the local residents. Energy is one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015. It features in SDG-7, which seeks to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all. It states that access to energy is a very important pillar for the wellbeing of the people as well as economic development and poverty alleviation. The Goal-7 aims to ensure the universal access to modern energy, increase global percentage of renewable energy, double the improvement in energy efficiency, promote access to research, technology and investments in clean energy and expand and upgrade energy services for developing countries.

Of all forms of renewable energy, hydroelectricity is mostly available as it is generated from the running waters. However, a UN report revealed that despite improved access to electricity globally, nearly one billion people continue to live without electricity and three billion people lack access to clean cooking solutions. Against this backdrop, the UN General Assembly organised a High-Level Dialogue on Energy on September 24 to accelerate action to achieve SDG-7 in support of the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement. Addressing the virtual conference through a pre-recorded video, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba underlined the need for a robust and renewed global partnership to build a greener, safer and more sustainable world. According to the news report of this daily, PM Deuba informed the global community that Nepal had intensified its efforts to accelerate energy and climate actions in line with the SDGs and the Paris Agreement.

Nepal has made strides in the field of clean and reliable energy with 90 per cent of the population having an access to electricity. Renewable energy has an important role in reducing climate change, poverty, gender disparity and food crisis. Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the LDCs like Nepal have faced economic and health crises, hampering their efforts to promote cleaner energy. Therefore, global commitment and partnership is needed to attain climate-resilient development pathways and net-zero emissions by 2050. Nepal is poised to harness her abundant water resources to produce electricity that will contribute to decarbonise industries and leverage the energy actions for advancing other SDGs.