According to a recent study, energy prices have increased significantly since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and might force as many as 141 million people into abject poverty. Due to rising energy prices, the cost of products and services has also increased.
A news statement from the UK’s University of Birmingham stated that experts predict a 62.6 to 112.9 percent increase in household energy expenditures. A 2.7 to 4.8 percent increase in household spending and the cost of living due to this increase in energy prices might push 78 to 141 million people worldwide into extreme poverty.
High energy costs have two negative effects on household budgets. According to Yuli Shan, corresponding author and associate professor in sustainable transitions at the University of Birmingham, fuel price increases directly raise household energy bills while energy inputs required to produce goods and services drive up prices for those products as well, especially for food, which affects households indirectly, she said in a press release.
The ongoing confrontation between Russia and Ukraine, which began in late February 2022, has driven up energy costs worldwide. Countries that depend on Russia for their oil and gas have experienced fuel shortages as well as high import prices as a result of the war.
The Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Universities of Groningen, Maryland, and Birmingham participated in the multinational study team that examined how rising prices affected households in 116 different nations.
In the journal Nature Energy, a study titled Burden of the global energy price crisis on families was released.
According to the study, during the current crisis, many people would want assistance with food and other basics as well as energy assistance.
As a result of the unequal distribution of income, households will be impacted differently by rising energy prices. Shan stated in the news release that vulnerable communities will experience energy poverty and even extreme hardship as a result of the high expenses of energy and other needs.
The researchers observed significant disparities between countries when they compared overall household spending, which now includes recently added energy expenses, to cost burdens prior to the energy crisis. The disparities resulted from different home consumption habits and the reliance on fossil fuels in global supply systems.
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Researchers discovered that wealthier households in low-income countries bear a greater share of the burden of energy costs. In high-income nations, lower-income households are more likely to pay greater energy costs. Sub-Saharan Africa had the highest overall burden of energy costs.
An energy system that is heavily dependent on fossil fuels creates dangers to energy security while also speeding up climate change, Shan added. This unprecedented global energy crisis serves as a reminder of this.
Around the world, lower-income households often spend more on basic expenses like food and electricity, while higher-income households spend more on high-end products and services.
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According to corresponding author and professor of science, technology, and society at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, Klaus Hubacek, “understanding how global energy prices are transmitted to households through global supply chains and who is more affected is crucial for effective and equitable policy design.”
The global issue of the cost of living has increased inflation and pushed economies into recession.
Energy poverty and extreme poverty are getting worse due to this situation. According to Hubacek, high living expenses threaten the hard-won progress made in reducing poverty and gaining access to electricity.
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For those nations, ensuring access to affordable energy and other essentials is a top concern, but quick fixes for the cost of the living problem must be compatible with long-term commitments to sustainable growth and climate mitigation.
Increased energy costs brought on by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine may cause up to 141 million more people to live in extreme poverty, a study finds.