This book is written for the non-technical reader who has an interest in acquiring a better understanding of energy and its impact on climate change. It provides some much needed background on energy sources and their limitations and describes the links between energy and climate change. It discusses various energy based solutions to climate change and considers the financial consequences of these solutions for both the economy and the energy consumer. It provides the reader with a clear understanding of commonly used (but often not clearly explained) terms like 'renewable energy', 'base-load power', 'peak oil', 'biofuels', 'global warming', 'greenhouse gas emissions', 'energy security', 'emissions trading', 'carbon taxes' and 'carbon offsets'. It offers practical solutions to ways that the energy consumer can save energy in the home, workplace and on the road. There are widely differing views about solutions to energy and climate change. This book provides an unbiased look at both sides of this debate and addresses what still needs to be done before we can return to an all renewable energy economy.
Some conservationists see the problem as relatively straight forward requiring deep cuts in emissions now by improving energy efficiency, energy conservation and using only renewable resources. Many energy industry engineers and scientists see the problem as being much more involved. This book looks at why using renewable energy sources is not quite as simple as it seems. It considers the impact of aggressive emission reduction targets that demand reductions before we have the technology in place and the possible risks of such a strategy. The book discusses the impact of energy changes on both the developed and the developing world and the need to have solutions that will be widely accepted. It considers some of the related political and economic issues that surround the debate such as emissions trading, emissions taxing, offset schemes, incentives and regulations with a description and comparison of each. It discusses what the energy mix might look like over the next few decades and what would be needed before we can have an all renewable energy future. It also looks at the thorny issue of nuclear power and its place in the total equation.