Much of the energy we use is derived from fossil fuels, and therefore emits greenhouse emissions, so accelerating global warming. We need to reduce energy demand and reduce the carbon-intensity of our energy supplies, if we are to adequately respond to global warming and climate change.
Restructuring our economies to reduce both energy demand and the greenhouse intensity of energy will require a combination of regulation, taxes and subsidies:
- Regulations to require more energy efficiency in buildings, vehicles, and factories.
- Carbon taxes (or alternatively carbon rationing and trading), to increase the price of greenhouse intense energy, thus prompting energy saving measures by energy consumers, as well as greater investment in non-greenhouse intense energy sources.
- Subsidies for energy conserving infrastructure such as building retrofits and public transport.
It will also require a significant cultural shift, to a culture that celebates low-energy intensive prodctucts and activities, and looks for ways to add value to them.
Energy Demand - By understanding the factors that tend to increase energy demand, we can develop ways of restructuring our cultures and economic systems to reduce the need for energy.
Energy Efficiency - By increasing the energy efficiency of the economy, we can reduce our reliance on fossil fuels without suffering economic deprivation.
Energy Services - How can we get energy services such as comfort, cleanliness, illumination, food storage, and access to the benefits of other places, while consuming less energy to do so?
Energy Supply - Energy from fossil fuels is cheap and plentiful (for now). But it is greenhouse intensive, and so a significant cause of global warming. There are a range of alternative energy supplies that are much less greenhouse intensive. But they either more expensive, and or more limited in availability.
Fossil Fuel Subsidies - Public subsidies for the production and consumption of fossil fuels tend to discourage investments in energy efficiency improvement, and the development of alternative, low-greenhouse energy supplies.
Clean Energy Future for Australia. WWF - How Australia can meet its electricity needs through a combination of wind, biomass, natural gas and greater energy efficiency.
Energy. NSW State of the Environment 2000. Environment Protection Authority. New South Wales.
Lurching Forward, Looking Back - Budgetary and Environmental Implications of the Government's Energy White Paper. Parliament. Australia. 2005.5
Securing Australia's Energy Future. Energy White Paper, Australian Government, 2004