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.

In this video, one family from Tanzania describes how clean renewable energy has transformed their lives and doubled their income.

Powering past oil and gas: energy choices for just and sustainable development

Powering past oil and gas front coverOil and gas need to be phased out rapidly in all regions of the world if we are to achieve global climate change goals and avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Renewables already provide cheaper power generation for most people in the world. Clean energy offers countries a huge opportunity for job creation, sustainable economic development and poverty reduction, allowing them to leapfrog and transition away from polluting fossil fuels. This briefing paper and accompanying FAQs (with ODI) examine the evidence on the relationship between oil, gas and poverty, as well as key considerations in supporting energy pathways to transition to low-carbon development.

Designing sustainable subsidies to accelerate universal energy access

Designing sustainable subsidies front cover In rural areas, many communities cannot afford even the most basic modern energy services. Sustainable subsidies are needed to bridge affordability gaps and ensure that the poorest and most remote communities are not left behind. This briefing paper explores how to design and deliver subsidies for distributed renewable electricity and clean cooking, and is aimed at policymakers who are increasingly financing them.

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:

Transforming electricity markets to deliver universal energy access

Transforming electricity markets - front coverThe private sector is leading the way on delivery and innovation for off-grid electricity, but market forces alone won't reach people living in extreme poverty. This discussion paper (PDF 333 KB) examines the role that multinational development banks can play in redesigning electricity markets to scale up finance for off-grid renewable energy and accelerate progress towards energy access for all.

Briefing papers:

The following briefing papers on renewable energy and clean cooking have been produced by Tearfund partner, Spectrum (Sustainable Development Knowledge Network), in Myanmar.

  • Women and clean cook stoves (2018) (PDF 3 MB)
    This briefing paper explores the opportunities and challenges for women of switching from inefficient wood-burning cook stoves to clean cook stoves, based on primary research conducted in rural Chin State, Myanmar.

  • Elements of a National Clean Cooking strategy (2018) (PDF 828 KB) 
    Improving access to clean, safe and environmentally sustainable methods of cooking, is important in Myanmar. This discussion paper outlines usage patterns of cooking fuels and stove types, including firewood, charcoal and kerosene. It recommends elements of a National Clean Cooking Strategy for Myanmar that could help accelerate progress.

  • Switching from candles to solar energy for lighting: A gender perspective (2018) (PDF 1.1 MB)
    This briefing paper, explores the economics of candle use in rural areas and the non-economic incentives for women and men to switch to electric sources of lighting such as solar energy. It is based on primary research conducted in rural Chin State in Myanmar.

  • Household lighting and children’s education (2018) (PDF 508 KB)   
    This briefing paper highlights the link between household lighting and after-school studying, based on primary research conducted in rural Chin State, Myanmar. It demonstrates the potential benefits for children’s education of switching from candles to solar energy for lighting.

  • Developing a renewable energy policy for Myanmar: Insights from the 2014 census (2017) (PDF 838 KB)
    This briefing paper highlights insights from the 2014 Population and Housing Census that are relevant to developing a renewable energy policy that can provide fast and low-cost energy services to Myanmar people.

  • Women and Electrification: what women want electricity for (2017) (PDF 540 KB)
    This briefing paper examines how access to electricity influenced life in semi-rural and rural Myanmar, including improving education, business and care work. It is based on primary research conducted in the Karen and Kachin regions.