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Conserving the balance - a personal view

Clarke, Joseph Andrew (2004) Conserving the balance - a personal view. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part A: Journal of Power and Energy, 218 (4). i-ii. ISSN 0957-6509

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Abstract

The fossil fuels are presently abundant and relatively inexpensive, with sufficient reserves to last for approximately 30-50 years at current consumption rates (and much longer for coal). The principal objection to their continued use is the impact on climate change through the related emission of greenhouse gases. Irrespective of the outcome of the climate change debate (whether we are witnessing local warming or a global phenomenon, the efficacy of proposed actions, etc.), one thing is clear: the transition to a non-fossil fuel economy is underway and will accelerate throughout the coming decades. The real issues are how this transition can be managed, the impacts mitigated, and the various technology options blended over time: fossil fuel de-carbonization and sequestration in the short term, the deployment of effective energy efficiency and load management measures to reduce and reshape demand, the switch to new and renewable source of energy, and the removal of barriers confronting new nuclear plant. Current policy is firmly focused on two of these options.