Switch to clean energy and save $500 mln, aid agencies told

(Reuters News, 10 Dec 2018) Carbon-emitting fossil fuels can be used as a weapon, hijacked by militants or sold on the black market, creating costs that humanitarian groups can ill afford.

Aid agencies could save more than $500 million by choosing clean energy over fossil fuels in war zones and disaster areas, global think-tank Chatham House said in a report on Monday.

Humanitarian agencies spent about five percent of their funds - or an estimated $1.2 billion - on diesel last year, and could save $517 million each year by using cleaner energy sources such as solar power, it said.

"Humanitarians are operating in tough environments where saving lives come first," said co-author Owen Grafham from the Moving Energy Initiative (MEI), a partnership managed by London-based Chatham House.

"Energy is not given much thought - diesel is the go-to fuel because it's what agencies are used to and it's quick-to-deploy," he said in a statement.

Carbon-emitting fossil fuels can be used as a weapon, hijacked by militants or sold on the black market and sometimes have to be flown vast distances to reach off-grid relief camps.

That creates costs that humanitarian groups can ill afford, with wars, persecution and other violence having uprooted a record 68.5 million people last year, according to the U.N. refugee agency.

Aid agencies said curbing emissions was key to preventing climate-change related disasters.

Renewable energy is key to reducing climate-changing emissions under a global climate deal after governments in 2015 pledged to hold temperature rise to "well below" 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times, and ideally to 1.5 degrees C.

"The burning of dirty fuels increasingly impacts poor people, particularly women and girls, who are in the midst of humanitarian crises," Sven Harmeling, head of CARE International's climate advocacy arm, said in email.

External link

Reuters News, 10 Dec 2018: Switch to clean energy and save $500 mln, aid agencies told