Why Sustainable Energy?
Global climate change poses such an enormous threat to our civilization and to species and ecosystems all around the world, that we must strive to achieve a full transition out of fossil fuels by 2030.
We also need to achieve a rapid transition out of oil and gas since the supplies of both will soon become scare and unaffordable, causing economies to crumble if they have not begun a transition to sustainable energy.
Both climate change and the looming arrival of peak oil challenge us to build a post-carbon world, using the enormous flows of solar, wind, tidal, wave, hydro, and bio-energy that are available to us every day. This is the challenge of our generation – to build a green, sustainable, post-carbon world.
Historically, we have relied on wood to meet most of our energy needs. With the coming of the Industrial Age, we discovered the use of ancient fossil fuels, and learnt how to generate power from nuclear energy and large hydro dams.
The world’s fossil fuels were laid down over 200 million years, starting 350 million years ago. Every year, on average, we burn a million years worth of accumulated ancient sunlight. Fossil fuels are a highly concentrated energy source, but global reserves are finite and non-renewable. All fossil fuels, including coal, oil, gas, and coalbed methane, produce enormous amounts of carbon dioxide, and supplies of oil and gas will soon peak and begin to decline.
Nuclear power has a long list of negative checkmarks against it, and large hydro dams flood large areas of land, sometimes producing large amounts of methane from rotting vegetation.
Renewable energy sources, on the other hand, offer a huge abundance of clean sustainable energy that will never run out.
The challenge we face is to achieve a rapid transition from our fossil-fuel-based civilization to one based on sustainable energy technologies.