The main purpose of sustainable development is to reach the peak equilibrium of these three aspects: Economic, Social, and Environment. The economic needs, where this world must show its ability to feed its seven billions’ children fairly. The social needs, on how we as the global citizens get rid of inequality, social injustice, and poverty covering some parts of this world. And not to forget the environmental needs, knowing that not all the resources are renewable, we then must use it efficiently. Keeping the balance between these three aspects shall bring the world’s development into a sustainable form: where we could fulfil our needs, without neglecting the needs of the future generations.
That triumvirate sustainability cannot be obtained without energy. Energy is the golden thread that connects economic growth, increased social equity, and an environment that allows the world to thrive. However, there are several problems of energy this world is currently having. The first, one in five or exactly 1.3 billion of our people are lack of electricity, while the other 40% rely on wood, coal, charcoal, or animal waste to cook their food. Second, knowing that the global energy consumption could grow 33% from 2010 to 2035 and global energy-related carbon-dioxide emissions could rise 20% by 2035, we then must try to get more from our existing resources. Third, by the fact that we could not rely primarily on the solid fuels (traditional biomass and coal) any longer, thus we must maximize the usage of renewable energy starting from now.
The key to those three challenges is to provide sustainable energy- energy that is accessible, cleaner and more efficient. In the spirit of making the sustainable energy a reality, The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2012 as the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All. To coincide with such designation, Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon led a global initiative with the same name: Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL). The Sustainable Energy for All initiative is intended to attract global attention, including nations and public and private commitments to meeting three objectives by 2030: Ensuring universal access to modern energy services, doubling the rate of improvement in energy efficiency, and doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.
Answering the first problem of energy, The Accessibility, the UN believes that Universal Energy Access in 2030 can be achieved with less than $50 Billion per year. Several actions have been done continuously and globally by the UN to solute the accessibility problem in Africa and Developing Asia from a household through a nation scale: Clean Cooking Solution, Decentralized Solution, Mini/Micro Grids, Small-Scale Lighting, and Government Leadership. On the subject of efficiency, United Nations believes that investing $170 billion annually in energy efficiency worldwide could generate an average rate of return of 17%. Also with equipment maintenance, thermostat settings, and upgrades can reduce the emission up to 50%. Last, energy from renewable resources—wind, water, the sun, biomass and geothermal energy—is inexhaustible and clean. Renewable energy currently constitutes 15% of the global energy mix, SE4ALL’s goal is to make it 30% on 2030. While global energy demand and carbon-dioxide is increasing, the renewable energy investment also has been rising rapidly around the world—to $260 billion last year—and created 2.3 million jobs.
By the pursuit of sustainable energy through SE4ALL, the United Nations made significant progress for sustainable development. Sustainable Energy for All provide wider access to modern energy services, and bring transformational social benefits: lighting for schools, functioning health clinics, pumps for water and sanitation, and more income-generating opportunities, among others. It also provides wider adoption of efficiency standards for currently available technologies, which could reduce energy use in building and industry, and raising economy. SE4ALL also bring good deeds towards environment by boosting clean energy sources usage. Therefore, because sustainable energy can revitalize our economies, strengthen social equity, and catalyse a clean energy revolution that benefits all humanity, it brings back the goods to the pillars of sustainable development itself.