Synopsis – United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) report shows that energy demand reductions mainly impacted fossil fuels. But Renewable energy development continued to grow throughout 2020. This shows that clean energy is key to the COVID-19 recovery, not fossil fuels.
UN-ESCAP released the Regional Trends Report, 2021. The report titled ‘shaping a sustainable energy future in Asia and the Pacific – A greener, more resilient and inclusive energy system’. The report examines the ambitions and progress of ESCAP member states in achieving sustainable energy goals.
Importance of continuous energy supply during the pandemic-
- Hospitals and healthcare facilities require continuous energy supply to function 24X7.
- Allowing work from home, distance learning and, communication of essential health information status all required uninterrupted power.
- Support for cold chain systems and logistics also needs an uninterrupted power supply. This is essential for the proper transportation, distribution, and storage of the Covid-19 vaccine.
How to make society more resilient to future crises such as COVID-19?
- Governments should make meaningful progress on SDGs. The government can achieve this by addressing the systemic issues that made societies more vulnerable to COVID-19. Such as addressing issues in health, decent work, poverty and socio-economic inequalities,
- Fiscal stimulus packages focussed on investments that support SDGs. This can be achieved by not investing in Industries such as fossil fuels. At the same time focussing more on renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. This will create industries that are resilient to crisis.
What are the advantages of promoting clean energy?
- Clean energy will create more jobs. Evidence suggests that clean energy will create more jobs than fossil fuel projects for similar investments. For example, an increase in spending on clean cooking and electricity access will enhance economic activity in rural areas. Further, it will improve the health and well-being of women and children
- Low-carbon infrastructure and technologies reduce global warming. This will take a step closer towards achieving ambitious climate pledges, and the Paris Climate deal.
It is also important to note that several countries have announced the carbon neutrality targets
COVID-19 crisis has shown that we can restrict fossil fuels and can be more adaptive and resilient. But we should not waste the opportunities of the crisis to phase out fossil fuels.