A Sustainable Energy Future

Opportunities and Challenges for a Sustainable Energy Future

“With increases over the past 30 years in the number of extreme weather events, such as temperature extremes, floods, wildfires, droughts and storms, the overall loss trend is beginning to exceed $150 billion per year. There is increasing evidence that these changes are linked with climate change. Although the full costs of mitigating or adapting to these changes have significant uncertainties, prudent risk management does not equate uncertainty with inaction. Policies are needed that begin to include the full cost of the various sources of energy more directly into their market prices.

Our ability to find and extract fossil fuels continues to improve, and economically recoverable reservoirs around the world are likely to keep pace with the rising demand for decades. The Stone Age did not end because we ran out of stones; we transitioned to better solutions. The same opportunity lies before us with energy efficiency and clean energy.The cost of renewable energy is rapidly becoming competitive with other sources of energy. With additional engagement of the scientific, financial and public-policy communities, as well as the general public, we can accelerate the transition to affordable, accessible and sustainable energy that will power economic growth, increase energy security and mitigate the risks of climate change. On the other hand, to quote from the IEA’s World Energy Outlook, “If we don’t change direction soon, we’ll end up where we’re heading”.”

– Steven Chu & Arun Majumdar. Nature 488, 294–303 (16 August 2012)
Steven Chu is the current United States Secretary of Energy.
Arun Majumdar was President Obama’s nominee for the Under Secretary of Energy between November 30, 2011 and May 15, 2012.
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