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Power to the poor

By Sarah Whittington

Did you know that more than 1.5 billion people across the developing world (about one-quarter of the world's population) have no access to electricity?

This lack of energy has limited the ability of individuals, communities and countries to achieve adequate standards of living and is keeping people trapped in poverty. 

To break the cycle of poverty, the poorest need power. But the poorest are also those most affected by climate change.

Poor people need action on climate change and they need action on poverty. If they had help to gain access to new low carbon sources of energy, they could tackle both of these problems.

So I was surprised today to see that World Bank funding for coal power stations has soared 40-fold over the last five years to hit a record high of $4.4 billion in 2010.

As supporters who joined us in the campaign against Kingsnorth in the UK know, coal is the dirtiest of all the fossil fuels.

The World Bank could play a vital role in the shift to a low carbon global economy by phasing out its support for fossil fuels and investing instead in the renewable alternatives.

This could increase energy access for the poorest and, at the same time, protect us all from the effects of climate change.

Find out more by joining us in London on Wednesday 20th October when you can hear from campaigners from the global south talking about how they are influencing the World Bank's energy policy. 

 About the author

Sarah Whittington

Sarah Whittington manages Christian Aid's climate change campaign