Sustainable Energy for the Future
The worldwide energy systems are not sustainable! The economies of industrial countries, as well as the economies of rapidly developing third-world countries, are completely dependent on fossil fuels, specifically coal, oil and natural gas.
Coal, oil and natural gas are non-renewable natural resources that we will exhaust one day. In fact many predictions made decades ago stated that these natural resources would even be in short supply by the year 2000.
Now, as we know, that gloomy scenario hasn’t materialized. However, many who have followed this situation closely for decades believed that they would have witnessed the transition to renewable energy resources – away from the dependence on fossil fuels – by now.
The solution now is to wean ourselves quickly off of fossil fuels as there are new alternatives. We can use energy much more efficiently, reducing our energy consumption overall and slowing the depletion of fossil fuels.
Because fossil fuels provide energy via combustion , they release emissions that are toxic to plants, animals and humans. There is much debate about the specific impact this has on the environment, but it is likely to continue to change the earth’s climate in ways we cannot fully know.
It is widely accepted, though, that every stage of exploration, extraction, processing, transportation, and consumption of fossil fuels has known impacts and suspected risks for humans and the ecosystems that support us.
An increase in our use of nuclear power, with it’s negligible emissions and it’s virtue of being renewable, has recently become an option widely supported by the scientific community. Nuclear energy is but one part of a multi-faceted approach to the world’s increasing energy needs.
The overall answer must be to begin immediately to transition away from fossil fuels to high efficiency, renewable energy sources, before the rapidly growing energy needs of developing countries overwhelm the world we live in.
A 2001 report by the Global Environmental Facility stated that:
A transition to renewable energy is inevitable, not only because fossil fuels will run out – large reserves of oil, coal and gas remain in the world – but because the costs and risks of using these supplies will continue to increase relative to renewable energy.
It’s the 21st century, and the sun is setting on the fossil fuel era. The 21st century will be the solar/hydrogen age.
Source: domestic energy supply