The Energy Factor

The IPCC has identified a three-pronged course of action for reducing carbon dioxide releases to the atmosphere. The three elements are:

  1. Efficiency improvements in energy supply conversion, and end use.
  2. Fuel substitution by energy sources lower in greenhouse-gas emissions
  3. Reduction in greenhouse gases by removal, recirculation, or fixation.

Energy, however, is absolutely essential for development and a huge amount is needed to achieve the present level of amenities available to people living in industrialized counties. It is enough to recall, that the average US citizen consumes 7.2 tons of petroleum equivalent per year. In contrast to that, an average person living in the developing country lives with a tenth of that energy.

Technology

Fuel

extraction

Construction

Operation

Total

Conventional Coal

1.0

1.0

962.0

964.0

Atmospheric fluidised bed combustion

1.0

1.0

960.9

962.9

Integrated gasification combined cycle

1.0

1.0

748.9

750.9

Oil-fired

-

-

726.2

726.2

Gas-fired

-

-

484.0

484.0

Ocean-Thermal energy

N/A

3.7

300.3

304.0

Geothermal steam

0.3

1.0

55.5

56.8

Small hydro-power

N/A

10.0

N/A

10.0

Boiling nuclear-power

1.5

1.0

5.3

7.8

Wind energy

N/A

7.4

N/A

7.4

Photovoltaic

N/A

5.4

N/A

5.4

Solar thermal

N/A

3.6

N/A

3.6

Large hydro-power

N/A

3.1

N/A

3.1

Wood (sustainable harvest)

-1509.1

2.9

1346.3

-159.9

Table 2: Carbon Dioxide emissions of electric power plants ( in metric tons of CO2 per GWh output) [8].

Energy consumption in the developed countries reached a level of saturation and did not increase

Year

Developing Countries

Industrialized Countries

World

1970

1995

3155

5150

1975

2450

3280

5730

1980

3030

4550

7580

1985

3950

3855

7805

1990

4250

4330

8580

1995

4570

4755

9325

Table 3: Annual commercial energy consumption (millions of TEP) [9]

Significantly from the mid 1970s to the mid 1980s. Recently, energy consumption has started to grown again. In less developed countries, especially China, energy consumption has been growing linearly for a long time and shows no indication of saturation [9,10].

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