Where are we heading Components of energy strategy

(1) Planning for the long term must be a priority. Long timescales up to 50 or 100 years are involved in many factors that make up the climate change issue, for instance, the lifetime of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the lag due to the ocean in the realisation of climate change or the typical life of energy infrastructure.

(2) Not all potential technologies are at the same stage of development. Promising technologies need to be brought to the starting gate so that they can properly compete. This implies joint programmes between government and industry, the provision of adequate resources for research and development, the creation of demonstration projects, and sufficient support to see technologies through to maturity.10 Tidal and wave energy in western Europe provides an example (see page 368).

(3) Consideration needs to be given to social and 'quality of life' implications arising from the way energy is provided to a community. For instance, energy provision from small local plants with community participation possesses very different social and community characteristics compared with energy from large, central installations. The best urban solutions may not be appropriate in rural locations. Addressing more than one problem at once is also part of this component of the strategy. For instance, disposal of waste and generation of energy frequently go together. It has been estimated that the potential energy value in agricultural and forestry wastes and residues could, if realised, meet at least 10% of the world's total energy requirement.11 Local energy provision supporting the development of local industries would prevent depopulation and enable rural areas to flourish.

(4) Energy security is frequently mentioned and must be part of the strategy. For instance, how safe are gas pipelines crossing continents and how secure from political interference at the other end? Or how safe are nuclear power stations from terrorist attack or nuclear material from proliferation to terrorist groups? Diversity of source is clearly important. But thinking about security could be more integrated and holistic; energy security should not be disconnected from world security. As I will mention in Chapter 12, world security is dependent on solutions being found for dealing with the threats to human communities from climate change.

(5) Partnerships of many kinds are required as is stated and implied in the 1992 Framework Convention on Climate Change. All nations (developed and developing) need to work together with national, international and multinational industries and corporations to craft sustainable and equitable solutions. Large-scale technology transfer from developed to developing countries is vital if energy growth in developing countries is to proceed sustainably.

(6) Attainable goals, targets and timescales must be set, at all levels of society - international, national, local and personal. Any commercial company understands the importance of targets for successful business. Voluntary action alone will fail to bring change on the required scale.

in the buildings sector grew by about 3% per year averaged worldwide from 1970 to 1990 and, apart from countries with economies in transition, has been growing during the last decade by about 2.5% per year. How can these trends be reversed?17 To achieve the greatly increased energy efficiency required from the buildings sector it is essential that there be an effective programme for retrofitting existing buildings with adequate insulation so as to reduce the requirement for heating in winter (see box) and cooling in summer. Many countries, including the UK and the USA, still have relatively poor standards of building insulation compared, for instance, with Scandinavian countries. It is also essential that all new domestic and commercial buildings are designed and constructed to the highest possible standards so as to require the minimum energy input (i.e. with higher insulation standards than those listed in the box) and with maximum use of passive solar design (see box on page 362).19 Large energy savings can also be made by improving the efficiency of appliances (see box) and through installing simple control technology (e.g. based on thermostats) to avoid energy waste. The cost of these actions would be less than the cost saved through the saving of energy. Electricity companies in some parts of the USA and elsewhere are contracting to implement some of these energy-saving measures as an alternative to the installation of new capacity - at significant profit

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