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In this module, the following topics are covered: 1) the considerations needed to make a move to a sustainable energy economy, 2) the path to get to a sustainable energy economy, 3) sustainable energy policies and climate action planning.

Learning objectives

After reading this module, students should be able to

  • understand the considerations needed to make a move to a sustainable energy economy
  • describe a path to get to a sustainable energy economy
  • connect sustainable energy policies to climate action planning

Introduction

Traditionally, the United States has relied on fossil fuels with minimal use of alternatives to provide power. The resources appeared to be unlimited and they were found within our borders. As our population has grown and our reliance on power increased, our resources are decreasing. As discussed in Module Environmental Challenges in Energy, Carbon Dioxide, Air and Water , this is particularly true of petroleum oil, which primarily powers transportation. Our electrical grid and transportation infrastructure of roads and highways support these fossil fuel dependent technologies. Fossil fuels store energy well, are available upon demand (not weather dependent), and are inexpensive. However, as we saw in Module Environmental Challenges in Energy, Carbon Dioxide, Air and Water there are many environmental, social, and even economic impacts of using these nonrenewable fuel sources that are not accounted for in the traditional methods of cost accounting. Further, the oil industry has been provided with many subsidies or tax incentives not available to other energy industries.

How do we move to a more sustainable energy economy? We need to pay more attention to the environment, humans, biodiversity, and respecting our ecosystems. It means finding ways to share our resources equitably both now and in the future so all people can have an equal opportunity to derive benefits from electricity, motorized transportation systems, industry, and conditioned indoor environments. At the same time, we must preserve human health and protect the natural world.

Energy use is one big piece of the sustainability puzzle, but it is not the only one. Changing the way we use energy is not easy because of infrastructure, the vision of the American Dream (own a house with a big yard, a big car, independence), changing government policy, lack of economic incentives, etc. Goals need to be set, plans made, and policy set to change the way we use energy. This chapter will discuss some of the commonly held views of where we can start and how we can change.

Climate action planning as a model

Since one of the major sustainability issues is that of climate change and the major cause of climate change is energy use, climate action planning is a valuable framework for examining sustainable energy practices. Greenhouse gas emissions result primarily from our building and transportation energy uses, and they are a measure of the amount of fossil fuels used to provide that energy. They do not directly represent other environmental emissions, although they mostly parallel other air pollutants. Greenhouse gas emissions do not express other ecosystem effects such as land use and water, but this planning allows for economical solutions. A climate action plan provides a roadmap for achieving greenhouse gas reduction targets within a specific timeline and uses a number of strategies.

Questions & Answers

Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
s.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Harper
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
SUYASH Reply
for screen printed electrodes ?
SUYASH
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
Ebrahim
or in general
Ebrahim
in general
s.
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
tahir
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
Cied
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
what's the easiest and fastest way to the synthesize AgNP?
Damian Reply
China
Cied
types of nano material
abeetha Reply
I start with an easy one. carbon nanotubes woven into a long filament like a string
Porter
many many of nanotubes
Porter
what is the k.e before it land
Yasmin
what is the function of carbon nanotubes?
Cesar
I'm interested in nanotube
Uday
what is nanomaterials​ and their applications of sensors.
Ramkumar Reply
what is nano technology
Sravani Reply
what is system testing?
AMJAD
preparation of nanomaterial
Victor Reply
Yes, Nanotechnology has a very fast field of applications and their is always something new to do with it...
Himanshu Reply
good afternoon madam
AMJAD
what is system testing
AMJAD
what is the application of nanotechnology?
Stotaw
In this morden time nanotechnology used in many field . 1-Electronics-manufacturad IC ,RAM,MRAM,solar panel etc 2-Helth and Medical-Nanomedicine,Drug Dilivery for cancer treatment etc 3- Atomobile -MEMS, Coating on car etc. and may other field for details you can check at Google
Azam
anybody can imagine what will be happen after 100 years from now in nano tech world
Prasenjit
after 100 year this will be not nanotechnology maybe this technology name will be change . maybe aftet 100 year . we work on electron lable practically about its properties and behaviour by the different instruments
Azam
name doesn't matter , whatever it will be change... I'm taking about effect on circumstances of the microscopic world
Prasenjit
how hard could it be to apply nanotechnology against viral infections such HIV or Ebola?
Damian
silver nanoparticles could handle the job?
Damian
not now but maybe in future only AgNP maybe any other nanomaterials
Azam
Hello
Uday
I'm interested in Nanotube
Uday
this technology will not going on for the long time , so I'm thinking about femtotechnology 10^-15
Prasenjit
can nanotechnology change the direction of the face of the world
Prasenjit Reply
At high concentrations (>0.01 M), the relation between absorptivity coefficient and absorbance is no longer linear. This is due to the electrostatic interactions between the quantum dots in close proximity. If the concentration of the solution is high, another effect that is seen is the scattering of light from the large number of quantum dots. This assumption only works at low concentrations of the analyte. Presence of stray light.
Ali Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Berger describes sociologists as concerned with
Mueller Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Sustainability: a comprehensive foundation. OpenStax CNX. Nov 11, 2013 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11325/1.43
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