Energy poverty is arguably the most pervasive and crippling threat society faces today. Lack of access impacts several billion people, with immediate health, educational, economic, and social damage. Furthermore, how this problem is addressed will result in the largest accelerant of global pollution or the largest opportunity to pivot away from fossil fuels onto the needed clean energy path. In a clear example of the power of systems thinking, energy poverty and climate change together present a dual crisis of energy injustice along gender, ethnic, and socioeconomic grounds, which has been exacerbated if not outright caused by a failure of the wealthy to see how tightly coupled our global collective fate is if addressing climate change fairly and inclusively does not become an immediate, actionable priority.
While debate exists on the optimal path or paths to wean our economy from fossil fuels, there is no question that technically we now have sufficient knowledge and a sufficient technological foundation to launch and to even complete decarbonization. What is critically needed is an equally powerful social narrative to accelerate the clean energy transition. Laudato Si’ provides a compelling foundation built on the narrative around the health, climate, and social benefits of a global green energy transition. The Green New Deal in the USA is a political movement that grows from this new understanding of sound stewardship and respect for the planet and its inhabitants.
This chapter presents examples and formulation of an action agenda to defeat energy poverty and energy injustice.