WILL THE GLOBAL ENERGY TRANSITION BE STALLED?

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The dramatic drop in global oil prices raises questions on whether major changes in the mix of energy for reducing emissions of greenhouse gas will take place within the desired time frame. The Paris agreement on climate change and the underlying science require a rapid move towards higher efficiency of energy use and non-fossil fuel-based energy supply, if we have to limit temperature increase by the end of this century to two degree Celsius (or 3.6 degree Fahrenheit), relative to pre-industrial levels.In general, major changes of the nature that is required often gets stalled by rigid attitudes and inflexible policies as well as the existence of physical assets based on past patterns of energy use, replacing which may involve costs and complexities. Altered public perception on issues of societal importance do not always result in early action, because responses on the ground are often inhibited by in built inertia. Delays also occur because of frozen attitudes, which reflect established lifestyles and behavior, compounded by doubts in the minds of the public on what action to take, if any.In addition, vested interests are also responsible for resisting change, as has been the case with action to curb the consumption of tobacco well after the scientific evidence identifying its carcinogenic effects on the human system was firmly established. Action is generally accelerated when it is driven by a set of multiple objectives or an upsurge of emotions in favor of collective action.

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