Policy and research: Climate and Energy

Climate change 

Climate change threatens the natural balance of the world. Tackling it is about both the environment and people. It’s about securing a better life for future generations and communities today.

In 1992 Tearfund became the first large international development NGO to work in this area, because of the effects being caused to partners across the globe. Climate change has the potential to push over 100 million people back into poverty by 2030. More frequent storms, droughts and floods mean crops ruined, people going hungry, and children missing out on education.

Since then, Tearfund has continued to be a pioneering voice on tackling the root causes of climate change, as well as working with communities to build their resilience to its impacts.

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Clean, renewable energy

Investing in clean, renewable energy is an opportunity to tackle both climate change and poverty. It’s an injustice that over one billion people do not have electricity and over two billion still use firewood, charcoal and dung to cook, whilst clean electricity and cooking solutions exist to reduce poverty.

Pioneering Power

People need clean, affordable, sustainable and safe energy to get out of poverty. Off-grid renewable electricity offers the most viable way to ensure that everyone has electricity by 2030, especially in rural areas. Pioneering Power: Transforming lives through off-grid renewable electricity in Africa and Asia (PDF 2.3 MB) - a joint report with the Overseas Development Institute, shows that solar and micro-hydropower are often cheaper, faster, more reliable, safer and cleaner than extending a centralised grid, or using diesel and kerosene.

The report demonstrates the potential of off-grid renewables to transform lives, improving health, women’s empowerment and income generation (contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals). For example, renewable technologies could employ 1.8 million people in sub-Saharan Africa alone. Women and men are already using solar and micro-hydropower to start new businesses, power universities and healthcare facilities, and help their children to study at night - as illustrated through stories from Tearfund partners.


Policymakers, practitioners and investors can seize the opportunities that off-grid renewable energy offers and scale up these benefits. This report recommends that governments (with the support of donors, development banks, the private sector and civil society): 

  • Develop a roadmap with national targets to scale up off-grid renewables 
  • Build a strong enabling environment to improve confidence of investment in decentralised renewables
  • Improve monitoring and reporting frameworks to track investment in off-grid renewables and the impact of improving energy access.

Read the report in full: Pioneering Power: Transforming lives through off-grid renewable electricity in Africa and Asia (PDF 2.3 MB)

Pioneering power front cover

View key findings from the report in this one-page visual summary (PDF 755 KB).

Download more in-depth analysis for five case study countries:


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  • Tearfund Action: play your part
    Join us in asking the World Bank to shift the balance and light up the darkness today and find more resources about how renewable energy is transforming communities around the world.

  • Power to the people: how one woman brought light to her community
    When Betty invested her self-help group loan in a solar panel she did more than just connect her village to electricity — she connected them to each other.

  • Renewable energy and your community
    Over two billion people depend on wood and wood products for cooking. Wood smoke exposes people to fumes that can damage their health. However, renewable energy can provide alternative sources of light and fuel. Renewable energy uses sources such as wind, water power and sunshine.