Lesson 4, Topic 3
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Can we develop sustainably?

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In the past, international development has only been possible because of the massive amounts of energy that can be extracted from fossil fuels to charge this development. But today, we cannot keep releasing emissions, because that will ultimately increase levels of poverty as crops increasingly fail and as some of the poorest parts of the world become uninhabitable. So today, to reduce levels of poverty, we must take a sustainable approach.

What is sustainable development?

For poorer countries to develop, their economy must grow. For the economy to grow, it needs energy. Countries used to rely on fossil fuels for this energy, but now they must rely on renewable sources of energy. Renewable energy can be expensive, unreliable, more difficult to store, and it might require advanced infrastructure systems. However, with every passing day, renewable energy is becoming cheaper and more accessible. Do you think it is possible to end extreme poverty while reducing our emissions and tackling climate change?

These are the Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs, which are a set of UN goals that they hope to achieve by 2030.