Light up the Darkness

Light up the darkness

Please ask the UK government to put pressure on the World Bank to increase its investment in decentralised renewable energy, such as solar power.

During 2018 Tearfund marked its 50th anniversary and in that ‘jubilee’ year we reflected on restoration of right relationships between God, people and creation. The ideas of jubilee, and indeed sabbath, are strongly concerned with conserving the environment and giving God’s creation time to rest.  Further, in Romans 8 Paul tells his readers that the freedom Christ brings is for creation as well as for humanity (vs 18-25).  As Christians we accept we’re part of creation, not separate from it, and that caring for it is part of what we are here to do.

Light Up The Darkness - Tearfund Campaign

Climate change is this generation’s issue to tackle as part of our care for God’s creation, as well as to tackle injustice. As the recent UN Climate talks in Poland have shown us, while progress can be made on process and ‘rule books’, getting clear and urgent action to avert further climatic change at a global level is frustratingly slow. Regardless, we need to move towards a zero carbon economy. To help make that shift, we’re currently calling on the the UK government to use it’s decision making power at the World Bank(1) to invest more in decentralised, renewable energy.   


Why energy access matters

Access to energy is one of the clearest indicators of inequality globally. Energy poverty is now increasingly localised in remote, rural regions, particularly in Africa and Asia. Without access to electricity, poor people are forced to rely on expensive, hazardous and polluting sources of energy such as kerosene lamps, diesel generators and wood or charcoal for cooking and heating.

  • One in seven people (1 billion) have no access to electricity.
  • Electricity is vital for success in achieving all the Sustainable Development Goals. Yet, progress on SDG 7, to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all, is not as fast as it needs to be.

Electricity investment within low-energy-access countries has traditionally been delivered through grid connection, powered by fossil fuels. Grid connections for dispersed populations are becoming increasingly expensive and can take many years to extend. Decentralised, renewable energy solutions (such as solar, wind and micro-hydro) present opportunities that are increasingly much cheaper and faster to set up. For example, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, over $1 billion is spent on kerosene annually – the equivalent of a quarter of local people’s incomes. Households spend up to $100 a year on kerosene, while entry-level solar lamps cost just $5.


World Bank’s energy access spending

The mission of the World Bank is to end extreme poverty and yet it continues to invest in fossil fuels that contribute to the devastating impacts of climate change. This is incongruent with the Bank’s own Climate Change Action Plan, designed to help countries meet the commitments within the Paris Agreement. Only a small percentage of the World Bank’s energy spending supports decentralised renewable energy, despite it often being the best way to reach people in poverty in rural areas. Evidence indicates that in order to achieve energy access for all by 2030, the lion’s share of additional investment in energy access, or 71 per cent, should go to decentralised (off-grid and mini-grid) solutions.


What your MP can do:

(or, what you can ask your MP to do...)

If you are an MP, please support our campaign aims by writing to Harriet Baldwin MP, Minister of State for DFID. Otherwise, please ask your MP to write to the Minister to ask that: the UK government uses its shareholder power to put pressure on the World Bank to increase investment in decentralised renewable energy (in line with the IEA recommendation of 71% of additional energy access spending). The World Bank’s UK Executive Director Richard Montgomery can champion these investments by using the UK’s voice on the Board, just as DFID can engage with the World Bank Climate Change Action Plan.


Every contact you make matters.

Sue Willsher,

Senior Policy Advisor, Tearfund

(1) The World Bank is an international finance institution providing financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world.

Do you like this post?

Showing 1 reaction

published this page in Articles 2019-01-08 12:43:55 +0000