Energy and Sustainability

As it is broadly known, the world needs to reduce the GHG emissions it is constantly generating. It needs to do so at both macro and micro levels, but always with international cooperation. The negative externalities the linear economic models and lifestyle generate, are too big. They lead to an unsustainable system, not only because the poor air quality needs to improve, as shown by deteriorating health conditions but also because biodiversity needs to be preserved, along with responsible production and consumption, so the Planet’s ecosystems carry its function and allow us all, the Human Beings, to live properly.

The Sustainable Developments Goals set by the UN in 2015 and signed by 193 countries, give guidance to all actors (governments, businesses, finance, and civil society) in achieving long term wellbeing to all via collaborative action of those actors in social equality, health and environmental protection and preservation. As some studies have shown, an equal and educated world leads to better performing businesses and governance. So, why do so many people keep attached to medieval models avoiding development to be achieved at a faster pace? Some economic sectors have moved away from that.

The energy sector is transforming itself via technological improvements and innovations, reducing the energy input needed to obtain the same or higher outcome but with simultaneous environmental gains. As one of the biggest GHG emissions contributor it is shifting its production model towards cleaner energy production as part of the Paris Agreement commitment to tackle Climate Change. As the recent IPCC report showed, further GHG reductions will make a substantial difference in reducing global warming by 0.5°C, mitigating more Climate Change impacts.

The SDG 7 – Affordable and cleaner energy to all – will allow reductions on energy poverty (currently 12.5% of world’s population don’t have energy access according to IEA), GHG emissions and inequalities, along with improvements in world development, education level, and wellbeing. The Sustainable Development scenario in the IEA World Outlook 2018 report states that an integrated reliable energy supply system is possible in the near future – an energy mix transformation quite predictable given the current changes. This accelerated transition will occur at a yearly economic cost of $2 trillion, as estimated by the IEA, with 70% of it being supported by governments. This report calls attention for the energy costs to supply fresh water for all, a basic need not all human beings have entirely fulfilled and addressed by the SDG 6 – clean water and sanitation.

Note: A similar post was originally written and posted by the author on LinkedIn on the 13th of November 2018.