Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Does global water shortage lead to new demands for energy?

In partnership with Energie-Fakten.

Is water becoming scarce? An evening debate at the Foundation for Energy and Climate Protection Baden-Wuerttemberg was dedicated to the theme of water scarcity. Prof. Dr. Klaus Töpfer opened the debate.

Water is of great importance for industrial and emerging countries alike, but 1.2 billion people lack access to clean water and every 20 seconds a child dies because of unhealthy water. World population is expected to increase from 7 billion today to a projected 9 billion in 2050. Since water consumption is growing twice as fast as world population, these 9 billion will need today’s average water consumption of 12 billion people. It is correct that 70% of the earth surface is water, but over 97% of this is salt water in the oceans. Except for cooling purposes, it is not directly suitable for human use. The fresh water reserves are very unevenly distributed across the world. Already, the global imbalance in the availability of water has led to large migration movements and in the future, it could very well come to war over access to clean water.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

35 years after the first energy crisis

More than 3 decades after the first energy crisis (late 73 - early 74), let us look back at the energy debate at the time, and the forecasts that were made for the turn of the 20th century. We now have the benefit of hindsight, and do not intend to criticize the views of the past, but rather learn a lesson of humility relevant for today.

Over these past 35 years, a long-term vision on energy has yet to emerge. The debate on nuclear is ongoing. After Chernobyl and Three Mile Island, we now have reached the end of the swing of the pendulum. Energy conservation remains a huge potential. Renewables have experienced remarkable progress over the past decade, but fall short of the expectations formed in 1974

Read full paper

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

How energy efficient really is railway transportation?

A few interesting perspectives on the real efficiency of railways. Mostly good news. Note in particular the quiz question on slide 13, which take many people by surprise.