By the Shine Campaign
There are few things more important for a community’s well-being than reliable, affordable access to energy. With over a billion people still lacking access to electricity and 2.8 billion people still reliant on kerosene, wood, crop waste, and dung to cook and heat their homes, the need is dire.
Electricity increases household incomes by giving people more opportunities for good-paying work. It increases literacy by allowing children to study after dark. It saves lives by enabling vaccines to be safely stored. It decreases indoor air pollution, a deadly killer, by removing smoky kerosene from the home. It’s no overstatement to say that energy access can be a miraculous life-saver.
At the same time, there are few things more important for the planet’s well-being than faster deployment of renewable energy. By accelerating the shift from fossil fuels to clean power, newly installed renewables help heal the planet by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution while giving households the energy they need. Distributed renewable energy systems can also help provide the most climate-vulnerable communities with greater resilience and better ways to cope with hotter, wetter, more insecure weather and the dangers that it poses.
The Shine Campaign is based on the premise that solving the two problems of extreme poverty and climate change are inextricably linked. There is, very simply, no way that the world can afford a billion new fossil fuel users. At the same time, it could not be more morally clear that every person must have access to clean, reliable, affordable sources of energy, and that we need to fast-track this worthy goal.
The UN enshrined this linkage between poverty eradication and climate action in SGD7, which calls on us to “Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all … by 2030.”
On World Environment Day, the good news is that SDG7 is reachable by its 2030 goal date. We have an unprecedented opportunity to achieve clean energy access for all, especially those rendered vulnerable by climate change and economic inequality. We have the tools, technology and know-how to overcome the dual threats of entrenched poverty and climate change.
But we have to work together, and we have to start today.
Over the past fifteen years, a courageous community of energy access leaders – social entrepreneurs, NGOs, funders and investors – has built the technologies and means to eliminate energy poverty. They’ve developed a range of innovative approaches to providing energy access. They’ve made clean power financially affordable for energy-impoverished villages and towns. They’ve electrified communities far beyond the reach of national power grids. Their work is amazing.
But they haven’t received enough attention and support, and their impact is too often limited by policies that discriminate against renewables on behalf of coal, oil and gas. Because of these roadblocks, the world isn’t yet on track to close the energy access gap on time. That’s not something we should accept. Not for the sake of 1 billion of our brothers and sisters. Not for the sake of our precious planet, and the climate that protects it.
That’s where Shine comes in.
Shine is a campaign, a social, financial and moral accelerator, for the movement to end energy poverty with clean, safe, affordable, reliable power. As a community of philanthropic, faith and NGO partners, Shine is working to mobilize new forms of capital, scale resources and generate momentum for achieving universal clean energy access by 2030.
In the months to come, we’ll be releasing case studies that show how diverse institutions are rising together to meet this challenge. We’ll share resource tools that will help values-driven investors learn how they can get involved. We’ll continue to bring these new partners together and, by building a community of practice, help to grow the energy access movement so that it becomes an unstoppable force.
Extreme poverty and climate change represent two of the greatest challenges the human family faces today. Shine is all in on both.
Will you join us?