Achieving Sustainable Development Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030

On December 1st Shia Rights Watch attended the event at the United Nations Headquarters entitled “Achieving Sustainable Development Goal 7: Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030”. This program marks the release of the World Energy Outlook 2015 report which presents groundbreaking data on the world’s most pressing issues surrounding energy consumption. Attending this discussion were representatives from the International Energy Agency, Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All), and the permanent missions of Germany, Pakistan and Turkey. Dr. Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency states that the major problems of the current energy markets are the sustainability of current resources and the implications of the current Paris Climate Talks. He states that in regards to the Paris climate talks, the international community is hopeful because many states have approached these talks with commitments to reduce emissions. Shia Rights Watch praises the commitment to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and increasingly shift towards the use of renewable energy due to the positive effects this will have on global energy inequality.

The movement towards renewable energy will have a widespread effect on the poorest countries and emerging nations. In resource rich countries, ethnic and religious minorities do not enjoy in the revenue that high energy prices have brought. In fact, resource revenues have been employed to develop tools and tactics to further repress these minority groups. Fossil fuels such as petroleum have entrenched authoritarian states and intensified repression against dissenting voices, a phenomenon widely studied by scholars who study rentier states. Shia Muslims that live in rentier states face widespread discrimination and fear criticizing their government due to state-sponsored repression. Human rights violations have been deeply connected to the reliance on fossil fuels. While the reduction of the harm done to the environment is the immediate effect of achieving Sustainable Development Goal 7, the human rights implications could be immense.

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