Given that the world may be entering another ‘oil and energy crisis’, why has the widespread adoption of alternative energy sources and energy conservation proved so difficult to achieve?
Oil is considered as the lifeline of our society. Everything from transportation, agriculture, and even pharmaceuticals, have a dependency on this ‘lifeblood’ (Hirsch, 2005). Petroleum supplies about 40% of the world’s energy and almost all of world’s fuel. The use of oil over past decades has been on an upward trend with a 45% increase over the past thirty years and a projected 60% increase over the next thirty years (Greene et al, 2005). The earth has been generous in its bountiful production of oil to keep our economies running thus far, but all indications suggest that this trend mighty not persist for long. The days of plenty and affordable petroleum are fast coming to an end.
There is however a solution to the problem, that is, the conservation of current sources and the use of renewable energy. Renewable energy sources have a wide implication and as such offer a unique opportunity for countries venturing into this field. The problem though, has been that there are many barriers to implementation of these sources. The following describes some of these problems, and how we can reduce or alleviate them.
One of the problems why we are yet to make the transition into renewable energy and efficient conservation of the sources we have is the fact that we still do not have adequate policies (IEA on Renewables an Expert View, n.d). OECD countries such as Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Denmark, Germany, and the United States, just to mention a few (List of OECD Member countries – Ratification of the Convention on the OECD, n.d) are regarded as the countries which need to work on their policies that regard the assimilation of renewable energy into their systems. This however should also include the developing nations.
The fact that the world is also highly dependant on oil provides another major barrier to adoption of renewable energy or even carries out conservation schemes. Almost everything in our world today is dependent on oil and petroleum and as such slowing down demand is proving an uphill task. This dependence is however not predicted to slow down but rather increase over the next few decades (BP Statistical Review of World Energy, 2009).
The citizens of the also need to change their attitude with regard to renewable energy as this has a great negative effect on the adoption of energy conservation and the use of renewable energy. Optimists, with regard to peak oil and the state of the worlds oil reserves need to re-evaluate their stand as all evidence seems to indicate that eventually, the world will run out of oil. The attitude of many around the world is evident from the statistics regarding the demand and supply of renewable sources of energy which are lower than any other source anywhere in the world (BP Statistical Review on Energy Outlook 2030, 2011).
The lack of the right infrastructure to develop the use of renewable energy has also been a barrier towards increased use of renewable energy. This is evident in the fact that most developing and even some developing countries are yet to venture into any sort of renewable energy on a considerable scale. Conservation of energy is also affected by the lack of infrastructure. If a country’s roads and power generation and supply facilities are underdeveloped, it might be noted that such a country is a high consumer of oil. If a country does not have adequate infrastructure to tap a resource such as water so as to use it in the production of hydro-energy, it then stands that it will end up using another source of energy and almost by default, a fossil fuel.
“My People perish for Lack of Knowledge”. God Himself in His infinite wisdom has already told the price of ignorance, and sin or course. Knowledge is therefore the gateway to the future we desire, a future dependent on renewable energy. This future is what we need.
Though there have been a considerable number of studies done on the effects of the continued use of fossil fuels and emission of their gases into the atmosphere, this knowledge needs to be drilled in to the conscience of every citizen of the world because until we can on a personal level, desire this change, it will remain a thought. It is not until we are all knowledgeable on the effect and the impending doom that we can take drastic action.
Let us not relive history when the world was and has been from time to time, held at ransom by Oil producing countries and companies as was the case during the Oil embargo of the 1970’s. Let us choose to be empowered. In the mean time though, let us ‘lift a finger’ turn off that switch and conserve the energy we use.
Bp Statistical Review of World Energy (2009). (Online) Available from, http://www.bp.com/liveassets/bp_internet/globalbp/globalbp_uk_english/reports_and_publications/statistical_energy_review_2008/STAGING/local_assets/2009_downloads/statistical_review_of_world_energy_full_report_2009.pdf (Accessed 25th April 2012).
BP Statistical Review on Energy Outlook 2030 (2011). (Online) Available from, http://www.bp.com/liveassets/bp_internet/globalbp/globalbp_uk_english/reports_and_publications/statistical_energy_review_2011/STAGING/local_assets/pdf/2030_energy_outlook_booklet.pdf (Accessed 25th April 2012).
Greene et all (2005). Have we Run out of Oil yet? Oil Peaking analysis from an Optimist’s perspective. Available from: http://www.netl.doe.gov/energy-analyses/pubs/Oil_peaking_analysis_from_an_optimists_perspective-DGreen.pdf (Accessed 26th April 2012).
Hirsch, L. (2005). The inevitable Peaking of World Oil Production. The Atlantic Council of the United States. Available from: http://www.acus.org/docs/051007-Hirsch_World_Oil_Production.pdf (Accessed 26th April 2012).
IAE On Renewables, An expert View (n.d). (Online) Retrieved from, http://www.iea.org/IEAEnergy/Issue2_Renewables.pdf Accessed on 26th April 2012
List of the OECD Member countries –Ratification of the Convention on the OECD (n.d). (Online) Available from, http://www.oecd.org/document/58/0,3746,en_2649_201185_1889402_1_1_1_1,00.html Accessed 26th April 2012.
The 1970’s Energy Crisis (n.d). (Online) Available from, http://cr.middlebury.edu/es/altenergylife/index.htm Accessed 25th April 2012.
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