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Goal 7: Affordable and Clean Energy

THIS Is Urgent

Why the world needs to switch to renewables now

By Jessica Jurkschat
26 October 2021

For years and years, we’ve relied on fossil fuels like coal, crude oil and natural gas for energy. And now we’re paying the consequences. Energy is the main contributor to climate change, accounting for nearly 60 per cent of total global greenhouse emissions. The same fossil fuels that we’ve relied on for energy also contribute to climate change by heating the atmosphere and causing extreme weather changes – from land degradation and water pollution to harmful emissions and pollution, using fossil fuels is taking a colossal toll on our environment and our own personal health. 


And as we learn more and more about the disastrous effects that fossil fuels have on our planet, the demand for clean energy sources has been on the rise. Goal 7: Affordable and Clean Energy is an essential part of us meeting our climate objectives and ensuring we have a clean, healthy world to live in. Here’s why we must all make the switch towards a greener future.

Clean energy is vital for reaching climate objectives

If we want to protect people and our planet, we need to slow global warming. Greenhouse gases are a primary driver of climate change, and we need greenhouse gas emissions to decline – fast. They trap heat and make the planet warmer and, crucially, the biggest contributor to these emissions is burning fossil fuels like coal. Fortunately, most renewable energy sources emit little to no emissions – even after accounting for the manufacturing, construction and transport processes.

Renewable resources means healthier lungs

A new study by UCL estimated that 1 in 5 deaths every year can be linked to air pollution caused by fossil fuels. The study showed that breathing in the polluted air can lead to an increase in health problems such as asthma attacks, heart attacks, strokes and lung cancer, and around the world, over 8 million people die on a yearly basis as a result of breathing in the toxic fumes. Using renewable energy sources reduces levels of air pollution drastically and protects our health. 

Diversity is imperative, even in energy.

Having a diverse energy mix is essential to ensuring energy security. Diversifying our energy supplies reduces our dependence on fossil fuels – making the change to renewables like wind, solar and hydropower means we can stop relying on fossil fuels, including its ever changing availability.

Renewable energy jobs are the future

With the oil and gas industry declining, many workers are moving over to green energy. Renewable energy creates five times more jobs than fossil fuels and by 2030, it’s estimated that there will be a whopping 24 million jobs in the global renewable energy sector.

Switching to green energy will save trillions in the long term.

A study done by researchers at Oxford’s Institute of New Economic Thinking found that renewable energy sources are much cheaper than expected. Renewable energy plants need less maintenance than fossil fuel plants, and since they’re using sun, wind, steam and biomasses, they don’t need to refuel. Compared with today’s carbon-intensive, fossil-fuel-reliant system, a swift transition to green energy could produce overall net savings of trillions of dollars in the long haul. 

Clean energy boosts the local economy

The largest part of renewable energy investments is spent on materials and workers to build and maintain the facilities, rather than on high-priced imports. Renewable energy investments are usually spent within the continent, often in the same country, and maybe in the same town! This means that money spent on energy bills stays close to home – creating jobs and boosting the local economy – win-win. 

Renewable resources are everlasting

It’s literally in the name. Unlike fossil fuels (which are estimated to be depleted by 2060), wind will always blow and the sun will always shine and we will always have renewable energy.

Access to clean and affordable energy solutions is vital for everyone on the planet. 

Electricity is crucial to meeting our daily needs – from heating and cooling our homes to lighting up our rooms and keeping us connected. And yet, 789 million people - predominantly in sub-Saharan Africa still lack access to electricity. And hundreds of millions more only have unreliable electricity or limited access. 

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