Some 1.3 billion people out of a total global population of 7 billion lack access to electricity, and 2.6 billion do not have access to modern energy in the form of clean cooking and heating fuels and technology. Energy poverty has disastrous consequences on their daily lives and, more broadly, on the future of the planet.
The hardest hit are people living in the developing world, who often have no reliable source of energy or access to the related basic services.
Without fuel for their generators, they cannot pump groundwater to irrigate their fields. And the effective treatment of sewage requires energy too. The shortage of reliable energy results in the widespread use of biomass, causing deforestation. Poor quality fuels and inefficient stoves pose fire hazards, pollute the air and emit greenhouse gases, while exposure to toxic fumes kills two million people a year.
Without electricity, schools and hospitals cannot operate effectively, and without efficient transportation, people cannot reach them anyway. Workers cannot get to areas where there are jobs and businesses are held back by the lack of reliable energy.
Without lighting, children cannot do their homework and their parents cannot earn extra income by working in the evenings. And it would be impossible to use a computer, even if they could afford one.