Thursday, July 24, 2008
World leaders need to take action on the energy crisis that is taking shape before our eyes. Oil prices are soaring and it looks less and less likely that this is a bubble. The price of coal has doubled.
Countries as far apart as South Africa and Tajikistan are plagued by power cuts and there have been riots in several nations because of disruptions to electricity. Rich states, no longer strangers to blackouts, are worried about security of energy supply. In the developing world, 1.6bn people – about a quarter of the human race – have no access to electricity.
Fundamental changes are under way in the energy field the significance of which we have not yet fully grasped. Global demand for energy is rising fast as the population increases and developing countries undergo dramatic economic growth.
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The International Energy Agency says the world’s energy needs could be 50 per cent higher in 2030 than they are today. Yet the fossil fuels on which the world still depends are finite and far from environmentally friendly. Serious thought needs to be given now to creating viable alternatives.
The need for co-ordinated political action on energy and related issues – climate change and poverty, to name but two – has never been more acute. Yet there is no global energy institution in which the countries of the world can agree on joint solutions to the potentially enormous problems we see emerging.
This article was posted: Thursday, July 24, 2008 at 10:24 am