In 2019, the WHO calculated that 3.2 million premature deaths per year were caused by household air pollution, which was brought on by harmful fuels and technology
According to new research by five international groups, up to 2.3 billion people still use polluting fuels to cook, and 675 million live without power. According to the report, if current trends continue, 660 million people are expected to live without power and 1.9 billion will not have access to clean cooking options by 2030. The United Nations set that as the deadline for completing its 2015 goal, which is "to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all."
As per the report from the International Energy Agency, International Renewable Energy Agency, United Nations Statistics Division, World Bank, and World Health Organisation, the world is not on track to meet the energy target at this point in time, which will have a negative impact on the health of millions and accelerate climate change.
“The energy crisis sparked by Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues to have a profound impact on people all around the world,” International Energy Agency Executive Director Fatih Birol said in a statement.
“High energy prices have hit the most vulnerable hard, particularly those in developing economies.”
While the switch to clean energy is occurring more quickly than most people realise, he claimed that much more effort remains to be done in order to bring it to the billions of people who still lack access. Global access to electricity rose from 84% in 2010 to 91% in 2021, according to the research, but the rate of growth decreased in 2019–2021, which also saw the onset of the COVID–19 epidemic. Although the electrification of rural areas aided progress, it was noted that there was still a significant gap in metropolitan areas. In 2021, 567 million people lived without electricity, which is more than 80% of the global total. This is equivalent to the gap in 2010, it stated. Up to 2.3 billion people still use harmful fuels like firewood and technology, according to the report.
Francesco La Camera, director-general of the International Renewable Energy Agency, said, “Cost-competitive renewable energy has yet again demonstrated remarkable resilience, but the poorest in the world are still largely unable to fully benefit from it.”
The WHO estimated that in 2019, household air pollution from polluting fuels and technology was responsible for 3.2 million premature deaths annually.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said investing in clear and renewable solutions to achieve universal energy access “can play a crucial role in protecting the health of our most vulnerable populations.”
Guangzhe Chen, the World Bank's vice president for infrastructure, called for urgent efforts “to ensure that the poorest and hardest-to-reach people are not left behind.”