Worldwide, 1.6 billion people lack access to electricity, and 2.4 billion people lack modern fuels for cooking and heating. Four out of five people with no access to electricity live in developing countries and in rural areas, mainly in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
This lack of adequate energy infrastructure forces more than a third of humanity to cook and heat their homes by burning wood, dung and crop waste. These families face an impossible dilemma: cook with solid fuels and suffer the health consequences, or don’t eat a cooked meal.
Smoke in the home leads to the deaths of nearly 800,000 children each year. Climate and weather influence the concentration of these materials in the air.
Shifting from solid fuels to cleaner energy – for instance, liquefied petroleum gas, biogas or solar power – can potentially yield the largest reduction in indoor air pollution levels while minimizing the environmental impacts of energy production and consumption.
Access to modern energy services improves a child’s access to education – especially for girls, who traditionally fetch the firewood or other biomass fuels for cooking and heating.