While wealthy countries in the West are engaged in an energy transition obstensibly away from fossil fuels towards renewable energy the developing world is emerging from energy poverty largely through the use of fossil fuels. Four million people die every year as a consequence of indoor air pollution from cooking using biomass in poorly ventilated homes. This is more lives lost year after year, every year than COVID in 2020 and more than Malaria and HIV/AIDS combined. The transition away from biomass towards sources like liquid petroleum gas cooking fuels is an undeniable global health benefit.
How do we balance the immediate needs of people to exit energy poverty with the fossil fuel driven threat of climate change that looms on the horizon. What are the consequences of market interventions and economic planning when policy makers struggle with basic energy literacy?
Dr Scott Tinker is a geologist, educator, energy expert and documentary filmmaker. He is the bureau of economic geology at the University of Texas and the chairman of the Switch Energy Alliance which aims to inspire an energy educated future through film.