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Energy - Beyond Oil

Energy - Beyond Oil

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Published by dizzyman2008
Alternative Energy
Beyond Oil
Peak Oil
Alternative Energy
Beyond Oil
Peak Oil

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Published by: dizzyman2008 on Sep 02, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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10/11/2013

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Inthischapter, thegreenhouseeffecthasbeendescribed, andthegrowingbodyof
scientific evidence supporting the existence of anthropogenically forced climate
change has been summarized. The link between global temperature rises and
greenhouse gas emissions (particularly carbon dioxide from the combustion of
fossilfuels)has,formostinformedpeople,beendemonstratedbeyondreasonable
doubt.Examplesfromthegrowingbodyofweatherphenomenahavebeenquoted
as being indicative, not predictive, of the kind of weather events which we
might experience more of in the decades to come. The pace of anthropogenically
forced climate change is faster now than we thought just a few years ago. What
we are seeing may be ‘benign’ compared with the frequency and intensity of
weather events to come. There are still uncertainties to be explored. However, as
computingpowerdevelopsandmoredataisgathereditwillbepossibletodevelop
and test the ever-increasingly complex scientific models required to improve our
understanding of climate change and its impacts.
The general response from many developed countries to anthropogenically
forced climate change has been to ratify the Kyoto Protocol—a first global
step to reducing carbon dioxide emissions and tackling climate change. Other
countries, including the US, China, and Australia, are exploring other ways to
collaborate on cleaner and low-carbon technologies. In the UK, the government
has a goal to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 20% by 2010 on 1990 levels.
It also has a longer term aspiration to reduce them by some 60% by around
2050 based on 1997 levels. The scale of reduction is regarded as not just a UK
goal, but a global one. They are not targets or end games in their own right.
They are markers on the road to a low-carbon economy. What concentration
of greenhouse gases in the global atmosphere is ‘safe’ is, to be honest,
unknown.

Developing countries are at a stage when energy consumption, economic
growth (from a relatively low base), and standards of living are inextricably
linked. Using the cheapest source of energy is the only option available to them,
andthisoftenmeansusingindigenousfossilfuels, therebyforcingcarbondioxide
emissions upwards. Paradoxically, they are also at the ‘sharp end’ of extreme
weathereventsassociatedwithanthropogenicallyforcedclimatechange. Making
the global transition to a low-carbon economy is therefore particularly important
for developing countries.

32 Arresting carbon dioxide emissions: why and how?

Developed countries are beginning to create energy choices that include low
carbon technologies. However, the nature, direction, and pace of innovation of
technologies for historically low-risk, relatively low-return utilities is heavily
dependent on the degree of intervention from governments and the regulatory
authorities (where energy markets have been liberalized).
No single technology or concept will achieve the global goal of tackling
anthropogenic climate change. No single policy approach will yield success.
The solutions for developed countries seeking to decarbonize their established
economies from an established fossil fuel base, will be different from those of
developing countries seeking to raise standards of living, gain a foothold in the
global economy, and take action to avoid the worst impacts of the extreme
weather events and climate trends to which they are particularly vulnerable.
Both mitigation and adaptation strategies will be required. On mitigation, we
know that today’s technologies will help us make a start towards decarbonizing
our economies, but they will not be sufficient. Innovation to develop and
deploy a new generation of low-carbon supply and demand side technologies
will be essential. Innovation—and commercialization—will not happen at the
pace and on the scale required, unless governments and markets work to create
a framework which provides incentives to stimulate the necessary investment
in, and to expand the necessary customer base for, low carbon technologies
and products.

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