If everyone gets electricity, can the planet survive?
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA) more than 1.3 billion people across the planet do not have access to electricity. At this day and age it sounds outrageous, at least that's what the Sustainable Development Goals thought. The SDG's declare the global aspiration to end poverty, malnutrition, child mortality, and guarantee universal secondary education by 2030 across 169 country targets. Alongside these humanitarian/social goals, they have a call for universal access to modern energy while taking "urgent action to combat climate change." While these are incredible humanitarian feats, one must take a step back an analyze the repercussions that will partake if every single person in the planet consumes as much electricity as we (In the Unites States) do.
To break it down, the United States consumes 13,240 kilowatt hours (kWh) per person per year, Ethiopia on the other hand merely consumes 56 kWh/person. The IEA suggests that 500 kWh a year for a newly connected urban household is enough at this moment. A large fridge in the US consumes 500 kWh already by itself. Lest we forget the climate and its implications. A cold area, such as Vermont, could itself break apart the IEA's electrical budget. Electrical heating is approximately 1,000-plus kWh. Adding washers and driers into the mix would increase those numbers exponentially.
The IEA's ideal budget would only operate a floor plan, a small refrigerator, a small TV, a couple of mobile phones, and two lightbulbs.
It might seem ludicrous to encourage countries to become electricity obsessed but ultimately it would be nice for everyone on the planet to be able to enjoy the privileged life. Not only that, but it would also encourage economic growth and, most importantly progress.
In order to be able to support the IEA's goals, sustainable energy must become the norm. There should be more focus on developing awesome and innovative alternatives in order to provide electricity to countries that need it. Who knows, maybe the cure for cancer is in the mind of a child that uses a kerosene lamp to do his/her schoolwork.
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