Santa Claus just visited Iowa State University, but Santa’s reason for leaving the North Pole wasn’t to see if Iowa State students had been naughty or nice, but to raise awareness about the 1.3 billion people on the planet who live without electricity.
Energy poverty affects roughly one out of every five people on the earth, and to highlight this sad fact Santa was handing out fact sheets and giving away bags of candy. The twist was one out of every five bags contained coal.
Generally getting coal in your stocking is considered a bad thing. Normally coal in your stocking means Santa has checked his list and found you in the naughty column, but that isn’t the case when it comes to energy poverty. Fossil fuels offer a cheap and effective solution to combating energy poverty.
Many Iowa State students didn’t even know what energy poverty is. Here in the United States we take electricity for granted, but for many in the developing world electricity is just a dream. “One out of every five people don’t have electricity? That is stunning,” said one student, “I don’t think I could go a single day without electricity.” Many students found it hard to comprehend that nearly one out of every five people on our planet lack electricity.
The developing world, where most energy poverty is located, can’t afford expensive, green forms of electricity. Contrary to what many think, wind and solar energy is anything but cheap. Green policies only perpetuate energy poverty in the developing world by condemning fossil fuel use.
Some Iowa State students thought forcing developing nations to go green was ridiculous. One student said, “It is one thing for us, who have power, to go green but I think it is wrong to tell the developing world they can’t have power unless it is green.” We shouldn’t force the developing world to live in energy poverty because they can’t afford expensive green energy, especially when fossil fuels offer an effective way to provide cheap electricity.