Challenges, Key Issues and Perspectives
8. Renewable energy 1. INTRODUCTION Energy security and climate change are of high importance for today’s societies and a key challenge of the twenty-first century. Noting the importance of the stabilisation of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, concerns over access to energy and future energy infrastructure have come to the forefront of public opinion and discussion in international bodies. In the pursuit of developing alternatives to mankind’s dependence on fossil fuels, renewable energy has become an increasingly complex area involving wide-ranging issues which explore the relationships and links between energy security, economic growth, poverty alleviation and environmental protection.1 Climate change is a global issue with no boundaries. Its impacts include the rise in temperature, extreme weather patterns, increased droughts and floods and sea-level rise. These effects are suffered differently in all parts of the world with no direct geographical correlation between contribution towards the production of GHGs and negative effects of climate change.2 Globalisation with its increasing trade in goods and services flowing from one country to another, energy intensive production methods, and paradigm of worldwide industrialisation, development, capitalism and consumer-led lifestyle have multiplied the carbon footprint and emissions of most societies. For example, imports of flowers or off-season fruits from another country or manufacturing plants assembling goods in various parts of the world add to the GHG emissions. About 79 per cent of the primary energy supply in the world today still comes from fossil fuels including oil, natural gas and coal.3 Nuclear power contributes approximately 3 per cent and...
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