As stated by the United Nations in its “Global Compact” regarding access to energy and this ODS Nº7; “it is essential to reach the entire population to improve globally access to cooking, heating, school and hospital lighting, communication and internet access, machines and work tools, issues that directly impact on development”.
Energy poverty is a calamity that affects people in their efforts to achieve a minimum development and welfare in their lives. But this resource, its generation and its costs is a question that goes beyond the access to it of all individuals and peoples. The environmental cost, the impact on the planet both from the point of view of its generation and its consumption, when derived from unsustainable energy models, mostly dependent on fossil fuels, is causing an environmental deterioration and a climate crisis unprecedented in the history of humanity.
The premise must be affordable, sustainable, and safe energy.
Consumers with fewer resources, present not only in poor countries, suffer from energy poverty because they cannot afford to pay for energy, due to their situation, the inefficiency of their homes and the prices of this resource. We are facing a serious problem, which for many countries is crucial for their development, and which aggravates even more the inequalities among the most needy people. In Spain more than 40% of the population suffers from living conditions associated with energy poverty (difficulties in assuming the cost of energy, directly lack of it or suffering from temperatures below the recommended level in their homes). According to the WHO, more than 38.000 people die every year due to causes associated to energy poverty, which on the other hand is a resource and a sector with great benefits that has little or no compassion for this serious problem. The energy companies and the political power dramatize a love-hate relationship, of false or manipulated regulations and legislation that in no case aims to end this unjust energy system. While many people still have to choose between eating or putting the heating on.
As a resource and sector of general interest, its affordability should be guaranteed regardless of its costs for each and every person without distinction. This is a basic need! It is not possible that this resource be commercialized and be subject to the exponential benefit to which it is subjected by its producers, distributors and marketers.
A resource that also requires, obeying the necessary transformation that the climate crisis is highlighting, a transformation of the production model that involves the gradual abandonment of fossil fuels to embrace sustainable energy production from clean energy, renewable, not dependent on oil. An energy transition that gradually implies a decarbonization of the sector, moving towards a sustainable and renewable model of energy generation. This is an unavoidable step for a society and a planet that are at serious risk, due in part to an outdated model of energy production and consumption, whose environmental impacts are having as a consequence global warming and climate change.
In order to reach the sustainable goal number seven for 2030, it is necessary to invest in clean energy sources such as solar, wind and thermal energy and to improve energy productivity.
Expanding infrastructure and improving technology for clean energy in all developing countries is a crucial goal that can stimulate growth while helping the environment.
Ensuring a fair and sustainable energy supply for all is a challenge that involves taking a series of inescapable steps.
- – Responsibility and commitment on the part of the public authorities in taking decisions that involve not only measures to guarantee fair and affordable access to this resource for all people, but also to make as many investments as are necessary to provide infrastructures that will ensure supply and put an end to energy poverty in all its facets.
- – Adopt a sustainable model of energy generation. This model must put the accent on issues such as transport or agricultural production, sectors among others, of great consumption and therefore of great environmental impact. This model must imply not only a transition towards a clean and sustainable energy but also a fair and affordable social energy system for all people.
In short, we must demand as citizens that the resources that are involved in the development of a minimum vital and welfare associated with our fundamental rights recognized in the legal texts that regulate our lives, are guaranteed and their access does not involve a class privilege that promotes social discrimination and a tacit violation of those rights inherent to any person.
Affordable, safe and sustainable energy must be a right, not capital at the service of energy neo-liberalism that goes beyond people and their needs in favour of exponential growth and profit at any price.
“The idea of enshrining the right to energy as a fundamental right is a way of reinforcing a basic human right to a dignified life”