Global progress lags behind energy target for 2030

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The world is not on track to meet the global energy targets for 2030 set as part of the Sustainable Development Goals, however real progress is being made in areas of expansion of access to electricity in least developed countries as well as industrial energy efficiency.

This is according to the Tracking SDG7: The Energy Progress Report – issued by the International Energy Agency (IEA), the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD), the World Bank, and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The analysis highlights that renewable energy is making impressive gains in the electricity sector, although these are not being matched in transportation and heating – which together account for 80% of global energy consumption.

IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin noted: “Falling costs, technological improvements and enabling frameworks are fueling an unprecedented growth of renewable energy, which is expanding energy access, improving health outcomes, and helping to tackle climate change, while also creating jobs and powering sustainable economic growth.”

Right approaches and policies

On the other hand, the report states that there is mounting evidence that with the right approaches and policies, countries can make substantial progress in clean energy and energy access, and improve the lives of millions of people.

“It is clear that the energy sector must be at the heart of any effort to lead the world on a more sustainable pathway,” said Dr Fatih Birol, the Executive Director of the IEA.

“There is an urgent need for action on all technologies, especially on renewables and energy efficiency, which are key for delivering on three critical goals – energy access, climate mitigation and lower air pollution.”

Stefan Schweinfest, Director of the Statistics Division of UN DESA, said this detailed report describing the progress so far on SDG7 is a testament to the collaboration of the five international agencies on providing quality and comprehensive data while delivering a common message regarding the progress towards ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

“Still, there is a need for improving statistical systems that collect energy information in those countries where the most pressing energy issues remain to be addressed. Better data are needed to inform policy accurately, particularly in developing countries, least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, and small island developing States,”said Schweinfest.