Today’s lesson on Energy and World Change discusses the importance of shifting from our current unsustainable fossil fuel-based energy intensive economy to an environmentally sound and sustainable Clean and Green approach. This is extremely impertinent
Drivers of global energy change:
-Rising energy consumption & economic development
(China currently uses 25% of oil compared to US, but China’s population if 4x that of US. This percentage will definitely increase in future.)
-The need for sustainability (renewable energy sources)
-New technologies and approaches (increasing energy efficiency/pollution prevention) increasingly adapted to minimize impact on environment
-Energy Security: being more energy efficient
-Energy as a source of income for country (E.g. Nigeria, Middle East)
-Energy for the poor: biomass stoves/solar refrigerators (may not be long term solution)
-Global Carbon Market: Dominated by fossil fuel market
-Energy & transportation technology
-Biotechnology and energy
Potential sources of energy:
- sun-huge potential for energy. with photovoltaics that already exists in the industry, it is very efficient to make use of solar energy
- geo-thermal-invest in clean energy (China is ahead in market, followed by Brazil)
What i found interesting in the lesson was that photovoltaics is a very viable solution for renewable energy. It generates electricity from solar energy by converting energy from the sun directly to electricity. Over the years, photovoltaics has evolved and has become more efficient. Then again, this efficiency differs across countries. It really depends on the geographical location of countries and conditions it faces. For example, in Singapore where it is hot throughout, it would be efficient to use photovoltaics. However, for other countries that do not face very hot weather throughout and are unexposed to the sun all year round, it would be rather inefficient for them. Having said that, photovoltaics is definitely the way to go for future energy. It is extremely clean and does not produce any harmful gases into our atmosphere. Moreover, it is a good replacement to the usual convention of burning fossil fuels, which is going to run out very soon at the rate we are using them.
Key takeaway points would be that good leadership is beneficial for sustainable development. At times, decisions that benefit the community may not be well-received with the public, hence this is when leaders step in and intervene in the situation. Currently, China is investing a lot into new and clean technologies to benefit the country. Given the quote, “technology is easy, people are hard”, it may be difficult to convince and change people’s mindsets. For these green technologies to exist in the market, governments have to push for for this technology forward with new investments and researches. Initially, people may be reluctant to accept new forms of technologies due to the costs involved or no benefit received, however, if the government can come up with incentives education campaigns or for individuals or subsidies to companies to change to green technology, we could really see green technology going far.
Government intervention is definitely very important if we want to overcome the problem of non-renewable sources(fossil fuels). The government has to ensure there is sustainability in the country by dealing with the problem of our infinite wants and needs and put green technology into place soon to support growth in the industry.
I would rate today’s lesson an 8/10 for the interesting insights!