Renewable Energy and Poverty Reduction

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A viable strong nation in the 21st century cannot survive without meeting energy demands of its population. In order to sustain and improve a country’s economic standing (GDP) access to energy is a crucial. The more humans exploit newer forms of energy the more advance the human civilization becomes. In many ways’ energy availability is correlated to the comfort of living in a nation. Since 1973 to 2017 44 years have passed and the global demand for energy has increased by approximately 42%.

Yet, over 2 billion persons in the world still do not have access to modern energy. Potential aid may come from the World Bank which was developed with the function of lifting developing nation out of poverty as well as help nations rebound out of war, as it did in the time past with France and many other European nations after World War II. However, current scientific beliefs and the size of the organization preclude it from taking swift action to alleviate the 2 billion persons in need of modern energy around the world.

This in conjunction with the different location-based needs nation have. Even as late as 2013 The World Bank was in agreement and on tract to sponsoring investments capital for coal-based plants in Kosovo, but as of 2018 plans has been terminated. Quoting World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, Kim says, “We are required by our by-laws to go with the lowest cost option and renewables have now come below the cost of coal. So without question, we are not going to,” support coal based plants… Rather the World bank has over time become in favor of assisting developing nations by calling for the embrace of renewable resources, which to some is an intermittent, fairly unreliable and expensive source of energy.

The call to embrace of renewable to detractors and laypersons in struggling country has a unrealistic romantic savor. Renewables are romanticized as having the potential of slaying poverty and rescuing the planet from the woes of climate change. The question it begs, is renewables’ ability to plausibly combat poverty while simultaneously saving the planet from imploding from greenhouse gases emissions and destruction native systems? Will favoring renewable forms of energy achieving each the aforementioned goal, or is saving the planet and ridding global poverty mutually exclusive.

Although the battle is two-front based the end goals are interconnected. Consider the largest city in continent of Africa, Nigeria. The primary sources of energy are diesel generators because of a lack of reliable electrical grids. Nigeria towns are prone to blackouts and insufficient electricity as are many sub-Saharan African nations. The reliance of diesel fuel is quite inefficient especially since Nigeria has plenty of coal resources within the nation. Despite sitting on a gold mine of coal, Nigeria is still unable to bring accessible electricity to its residents, because of the new policies the World Bank adheres to, and in part because of the political corruption within Nigeria.

As of 2018 Nigeria is now considered one of the poorest nations in the world, and has fallen beneath nations like India, although it has more available natural resources India. A coal plant in Nigeria can potentially meet the consumption needs and bring the country out of its economic crisis, however, since coal plants are not green enough, the more sluggish and less reliable renewable alternatives are forced upon her. On a short timescale this does not appear fair. Coal plants, the immediate time proven solution is stymied because of its lack of greenness.

Forcing developing nations to submit to green standards is not fair because the entirety of western industrialization was built on coal energy and to a degree still is. Without the use of fossil fuels, it seems nearly impossible for developing counties to achieve growth. In the wake of survival isn’t the precedent to promote survival as the G7 nations have done in the past. Should feeding, economy, and housing of a country’s inhabitants priority, or is the risk of global climate change grander? Solutions from both camp supporters (fossil fuels vs renewable energy) are torn, but the consequence will be reaped internationally. Global climate change from fossil fuels are contributors to fluctuations of weather, natural disasters, and diminishing food crop in countries worldwide.

Currently, all established G7 seven nations prior to dominance had a industrial era that required a high demand of energy. The attainment of the energy criterion led to a shift from manual labor to mechanization and many technological innovations today. We can infer from this that an increased energy demand will likely improve developing nations living conditions, and further advance civilization. The dilemma at hand is which form of energy should these developing countries implement. Should developing nation follow a soft or hard path in developing energy infrastructures.

According to Goudslom an increase in energy sources leads to an advancement. Currently there are many forms of energy readily available. Understanding the justification for the uses of renewable and non-renewable forms of energy will be accessed for developing nations. Developing nations are often motivated to pursue sustainable and renewable sources of energy which comes with more risks; while, G7 developed nations are only now weaning off of hard-paths energy, after over a century of polluting.

Renewable energy is a viable solution to the energy demands yet there are still many challenges renewable energy technology needs to address before the implementation. Insert the thesis: If the there exist technologies to already help developing nations why is there an overwhelming push for renewable technologies? Justification of Fossil Fuels Although fossil fuels are considered deleterious, short-term analysis proves it can greatly improve the quality of life in developing nations. In the case of China and India over the last 40 years the use coal and fossil fuel have more than quadrupled. With the increase of energy came an increase in life expectancy and quality of life for individuals in these nations.

Although the use of fossil fuels is positively correlated with an increased life expectancy the increased use of fossil fuels is also linked to a global increase in greenhouse gas emissions. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) projects that over the last 40 years the world has lost an astonishing 60% of wildlife as a result of increased greenhouse gases. Though the economic boon in China and India contribute significant percentages to global greenhouse gases which has led to the demise and extinctions of many natural systems, but they are not the only culprits. Even within other developing countries, factors such as heating source impact greenhouse gas emissions and air quality. For instance, the use of firewood or animal dung both emit a considerable emit considerable amount of CO2 and health risks that may threaten overall life expectancy.

Although progress seems have to been made with implementation of fossil fuels it is progresses that readily discounts the future. It’s as though there exists a delicate balance between humans improving their quality of life, which automatically incorporates negative consequence to another. in this case it is at the expense of other citizens (creatures/entities) of the earth. This behavior invokes the perspective harbored by Garret Hardin in the Tragedy of The Commons – whereby individual users self center accords often without carefeul consideration leads to the depletion of of the common good or others community resources. Many pundits link lack of energy availability in developing countries to a variety of socioeconomic challenges.

Energy allays issues pertaining to: poverty, education, health, population growth, employment, enterprise, communication, urbanization and a lack of opportunities for women. Generally speaking modern forms of energy allow users more time to develop a variety of different skills that will likely advance the users civilization. Since fossil fuels have already helped Asia why aren’t they necessarily the answer to energy demand globally? Deception of Fossil Fuels At first glance it may seems as though fossil fuels and coal are proven solutions.

Even with the adaption and further improvements of clean energy within hard-path forms of energy consumption. If one does not consider the many subsidies and incentives are prepackaged and associated with the aforementioned hard-paths. It’s easy fall prey to the illusion of stability fossil fuels pose. If an individual does not understand the incentives, they may to shun the common narrative that calls for the cutting of fossil fuels consumption. Fossil fuels are costly to produce and are also costly to the environment, but the immense amount of backing hard-path energy have created a blanket effect.

Focusing on the United State as it is the G7 nation that has the largest government back subsidies we find that for every in 2004 fossil fuels received 86% of government subsidies, nuclear energy received 8%, and renewable energy efficiency merely 6%. Fossil fuels appear apposite because a disproportionate amount funding goes fossil fuels. Sovacool et al. posit since 1882 U.S. government is guilty of favorably funding matured hard-paths of energy research. They approximate for every $35 worth of subsides conventional energy sources receive in R&D, energy efficiency received only $1.00 worth of support (Sovacool, 2008b; Gaffigan, 2008).

Within the 8 year time frame, which also coincides the with time frame of democrats in office, the support has decreased to nearly half. In 2010 the funds started slightly more than $300 million and then reduced to nearly half at $155 million by 2017. The total amount of funding the Department of energy has budgeted for the advancement of fossil energy. Since 2010 to date, coal, oil, and gas has have received a combined amount of 1.54 billion for 768 projects. Although funding is diverted toward fossil energy the end of is still dedicated toward cutting carbon emission.

From 2010 to 2017 42% of the funding ($1.12 billion) went toward 9 later-stage demonstration projects on carbon capture and storage technologies, which with great promise towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The majority of the fossil fuel R&D funding ($1.40 billion) went toward s 698 other coal R&D projects. The DOE’s 2016’s funding for basic energy science, energy technologies (including R&D for fossil fuels, nuclear energy, renewable energy, and electricity delivery and reliability), and energy efficiency totaled $5.9 billion. That total is roughly 20 percent of DOE’s 2016 appropriations.

The great contribution went towards maintaining the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile and cleaning up former nuclear facilities. This analysis focuses on expenditures that promote the development of specific fuels or energy technologies that further the scientific knowledge on which those new technologies rely. Specifically, the analysis includes the funding for basic energy sciences research that is administered through DOE’s Office of Science as well as the funding provided through the department’s programs for energy technology R&D (Dinan, Terry).

From 2016 to 2017 the amount of funding energy efficiency and renewable energy receive has increased 40%. However, there’s no such thing as a free lunch, the gains in renewables are in part a result tax preference. In essence tax preference are aimed both at both investor and consumers. Tax preferences allow for the government to promote investment and funiding in renewable energy by granting investor and end users incentives. By doing so, there’s a considerable amount of backing directly from government funds. Once again implement a similar plan would be challenging since developing nations do not likely have lucrative markets and strong currency backing as do the G7.

More formally “federal support is provided by tax preferences occurs via —special provisions of tax law that reduce tax liabilities for certain activities, entities, or groups of people—for both producers and users of certain fuels and energy technologies. Preferences aimed at producers increase the profitability of investing in a particular technology (tax credits for generators that produce electricity from wind, for example) or lower the cost of producing certain fuels (depletion allowances for producing oil and natural gas, for example). Preferences aimed at users lower their after-tax cost of purchasing certain products; for instance, tax credits subsidize homeowners’ investments in energy-efficient windows (Dinan, Terry).”

The federal government provides financial support for the development, production, and use of fuels and energy technologies both through tax preferences and through spending programs administered by the Department of Energy. Policymakers provide this support with multiple goals targeted including: increasing domestic energy production, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and encouraging research that might benefit society but that would not be profitable for private firms to undertake without government funding.

In fiscal year 2016, tax preferences provided the majority of federal support for energy development, production, and use. Whereas tax preferences are estimated to have resulted in $18.4 billion in lost revenues. Policy makers appropriated funds equal to about one-third of that amount, roughly $5.9 billion, to the DOE to fund the relevant spending programs (Dinan, Terry). In essence, this suggest the increased investment of renewable energies in America are not self-sustainable but are artificially generated. Time will tell the renewable market will be able to germinate and achieve self-sufficiency, or if it will implode like the house market and education balloon that still plague America now.

Since 2004 the push of civil societies has led to an increase in amount of funds allocated to renewable energy. Prior to now, Sovacool et al. posited four essentials to engender effective energy reform: eliminating subsidies for conventional and mature electricity technologies, pricing electricity accurately, passing a national feed-in tariff, and implementing a nationwide system benefit fund to raise public awareness, protect lower income households, and administer demand side management programs. Viewing America as a microcosm of barriers potentially grants insight on remedying issues pertaining to discounting the future are associated with all barriers previously discussed (Sovacool, 2009: 1537-1538).

This very simplified outline may be constructive for G7 nations and in the case of USA but in addressing the needs of developing nations does a paltry job since developing nations often lack governmental infrastructure and sufficienct circulation of capital to sponsor wide scale projects and initial investments. Resultantly, instead of looking at increasing renewable resources via use of G7 it templates it may be necessary to investigate on a case to case basis. There seemingly unanimous support for a global increase in renewable energy. technology in order to decelerate the effects of climate change. The overwhelming push for renewables is impacting developing nations both negatively and positively. Developing countries face many barriers associated with implementing new technologies. Overall, the dilemma has two major root causes of divergence.

Firstly, developing nations seek to provide energy and basic necessities of billions of residents; secondly, the seek to provide energy and opportunities whilee concurrently engaging in the global paradigm shift for cleaner, and lower CO2 emissive renewable and alternative energy options. It is evident that climate change poses a risk to the world, but must these developing nations, most of which have been abused in the past by current developed nations be taken advantage again once again face inequity and must sell themselves into modern day indentured servitude in order to meet capatil cost of implementing renewable along with criteria new emission regulations developed nations have circumvented on their rise to economic stability? Climate change negatively impacts bad for the world at large, but restricting the form of energy a developing nation use to improve the fate of its denizens potentially places constraints on developing nations that are crippling.


Cite this paper

Renewable Energy and Poverty Reduction. (2021, Nov 26). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/renewable-energy-and-poverty-reduction/

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