Energy and transport
Fossil fuel has been the engine of modern society since the start of the industrial revolution in the late 18th century. Modern industry, agriculture, transport and lifestyle all rest on the use of fossil fuels. At a global level, about 80 % of the energy used comes from fossil resources. A change to a low carbon energy system is necessary to avoid far-reaching consequences of climate change and one of the biggest challenges of our time. The challenge is even bigger if we consider that the global energy demand is expected to rise by 49 % from 2007 to 2035 due to growth in developing countries (http://imarketnews.com/node/13948).
The projections for the future global energy system looks vary considerably. According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), the future energy system will still be heavily dominated by fossil fuels in 2035 (http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/ieo/highlights.html) while the Worldwatch report “Low-Carbon Energy: A Roadmap”( http://www.worldwatch.org/node/5945) states that “Technologies available today, and those expected to become competitive over the next decade, will permit a rapid decarbonisation of the global energy economy. New renewable energy technologies, combined with a broad suite of energy-efficiency advances, will allow global energy needs to be met without fossil fuels and by adding only minimally to the cost of energy services.” These are two fundamentally different scenarios for the future and maybe the future lies somewhere in between the two. It is clear, however, that sustainable development requires a future energy system that rests on renewable resources such as wind, solar and geothermal, and smart technologies that enable energy efficiency in all sectors.