Sustainability is meeting the needs of the present without compromising the needs of the future
Energy sustainability is finding the balance between a growing economy, the need for environmental protection and social responsibilities in order to provide an improved quality of life for current and future generations.
Energy sustainability has many aspects to it. It addresses conserving the energy we use today, developing the energy we use efficiently, protecting the environment, tackling energy poverty and moving towards energy transition
In 2015, the United Nations adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals, addressing the global challenges facing humanity, including poverty, inequality, health, education, energy, climate, the environment and prosperity. The organization’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a continuation of its Eight Millennium Development Goals, with, among notable additions, the inclusion of energy access as a separate goal.
Energy is central to these goals through its importance to the economy, education, health, the environment and water. In 2019, nearly a billion people (more than 13% of the world population) do not have access to electricity, and three billion people lack access to clean cooking solutions, even within oil and gas producing/exporting countries. This lack of access to modern energy service is known as energy poverty. Energy poverty can be a big hurdle to meeting energy sustainability goals.
Another part of the path to sustainability is the energy transition. Energy transition is moving the global energy supply from fossil-based to zero-carbon. It is about the need to reduce energy-related CO2 emissions to limit climate change. Approximately 80% of the world’s current energy needs are still met through fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas. Though the world is reducing its footprint and moving towards more sustainable and cleaner energy, it will be a slower transition than most expect.