Sustainable use of energy

 
     
 

Increasing use of fossil fuels has led to higher levels of pollution and depletion of easily available resources. Use of energy results in the emission of local pollutants like sulphur dioxide and nitrous oxides which result in acid rain, and carbon monoxide and hydrogen particles which can effect health.

The formation of carbon dioxide as a result of combustion leads to a global pollution problem as this gas congregates in the upper atmosphere. This alters the radiation balance between incoming and reflected solar radiation and results in global warming and climate change.

Sustainability

Environmental pollution, resource depletion and energy usage leading to global warming are interrelated and interdependent phenomena. Whilst the earth's population was small and energy use was less, the impact of humans on the natural eco systems was small. Now that the population has increased considerably and so has our energy usage this impact is much greater and is affecting the earth's eco-systems in ways we cannot control. Thus our energy usage is non-sustainable, not for even one more generation and there is a need to value energy as something which is both scarce and precious. This should be reflected in our daily actions whether for example to make the journey to school or work by foot, by bicycle, by bus or by car.

The common definition of sustainability is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the needs of future generations to meet their needs.

This simple statement covers all human impacts on the earth's environment and is much broader than simply reducing our energy usage. The European Union has since 1992 adopted sustainability as one of the key criteria when adopting new directives and regulations and in developing the European response to climate change.

At the second Earth summit in Johannesburg in 2002, it was agreed that there was an urgent need to inform and educate persons about ways of adapting to more sustainable life styles and the decade from 2005 to 2015 has been declared by UNESCO the decade of Education for Sustainable Development (or ESD).

This website is our response to encourage individuals to do their share in developing a more sustainable lifestyle and in particular to limit climate change.

Advantages

The advantages of sustainable use of energy are:

  • use energy more efficiently
  • use less energy
  • extend availability of fossil based energy sources
  • reduce pollution associated with energy use
  • secure a more sustainable energy future
  • reduce need to transport energy over long distances by using local resources
  • limit the impact of global warming
  • reduce the likelihood of climate change
  • reduce the risk of irreversible climate changes leading to crop failures and environmental refugees

Resource depletion

Carbon cycle

   

Greenhouse gas and global warming

Economics of sustainable energy use

   

Further advice