Balancing Energy Supply and Demand
While energy is essential in every aspect of our life as well as to the success of our economy, there are at least two long-term challenges before the nation. These are (i) tackling climate change through reduction of carbon dioxide emissions both within UK and outside, and (ii) ensuring secure, clean, and affordable energy as well as gradually reduce dependence on imported fuel.
This is possible only with a focused approach to renewable energy. Nonetheless, fossil fuels are likely to remain primary energy source to 2050. The oil supply is unlikely to meet demand by 2050. The issue with coal is clean usage rather than supply or price. Therefore, there is an urgent need to prioritise fossil fuel use on one hand and continue to research and develop as well as use the green and renewable energy sources. While a transition to cleaner and more secure energy could be necessary, it is quite clear that it cannot be put in place overnight. Therefore, we need to change our present consumption of fossil fuels. This has to be done sooner rather than later especially in context of the mounting evidence about global warming on one hand and the rapid depletion of the finite fossil fuel sources especially oil, on the other. With global energy consumption likely to double by 2030, economists like Nicholas Stern warn that continuing business as usual for another two decades would be devastating to business and environment. No doubt renewable energy is critical to our fight against climate change. We need to shift our lifestyle to low carbon economy and away from oil and coal. Over the next 40-50 years we need to reduce about 50 to 80 percent CO2 emissions.