UCL Energy Institute


PRESS RELEASE: Equality, peace and prosperity all depend on affordable and clean energy

20 November 2017

UCL research published in Nature Energy finds two-thirds of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals depend on access to clean, affordable energy


Achieving equality, securing global peace and ending extreme poverty all depend on ensuring people have access to clean, affordable energy, a study by University College London has found.

By analysing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their related Targets, researchers found that access to clean and affordable energy is at the heart of around two-thirds of these targets – ranging from ending discrimination against women to ending poverty.

The paper, published today in Nature Energy, found that energy is central in achieving a peaceful and sustainable future. Access to food, clean water, sanitation, education, technology and healthcare are all underpinned by affordable and clean energy. 

As one example, electricity access is needed in schools and homes in order for all girls and boys to have access to free, equitable and good-quality primary and secondary education.

As UN member nations have committed to implement the goals by 2030, the research suggests that far greater emphasis should be placed on considering these cross-sectoral dynamics (e.g. among energy, water, food, gender and education) when considering wider public policy goals.

The research was undertaken by the UCL Energy & Development group, a group of researchers and academics at UCL who work on issues related to energy in low and middle-income countries.

Yacob Mulugetta, paper co-author and Professor of Energy and Development Policy at University College London, said:

This paper helps us think through the place of energy across our economic and social systems, and by extension, helps us understand our relationship with our environment.
By exploring these interdependencies, this paper argues that the transition to a clean energy future cannot be separated from the important goal of building a fairer and more just society.

Notes to editors:

  1. View 'Mapping synergies and trade-offs between energy and the Sustainable Development Goals', published today in Nature Energy.