Imagine you had $10 billion to invest in providing electricity to people in the developing world who currently go without.
The lack of electricity in the developing world is a major issue. Almost 3 billion people burn twigs and dung to keep warm and heat their food. This causes indoor air pollution, which has been estimated to cost over 4 million lives per year. Electricity allows refrigeration to keep food from spoiling and rotting. Refrigeration is also vital to keep certain medicines in good condition. Electricity powers computers and phones that allow people in developing countries to connect to the world.
The Center for Global Development have worked out how far your $10 billion would go if you were to use renewables, or were to use gas, or some mix of the two. How many people could you connect to an electricity supply?
If $10 billion of your aid and development money is invested in renewables in the developing world, it will provide electricity to 20 million people. If that money is invested in gas-fired power, it will provide electricity to 90 million people. Bjorn Lomborg provides a neat summary of the issues at stake that I recommend reading.