Sunday 31 October, 5.30pm until 6.30pm, Lecture Theatre 1 Thought for the day
There is increasing awareness that there may be an energy crunch looming over the next ten years, as existing sources of energy such as ageing nuclear power stations go off stream. There is a lack of consensus as how to tackle this problem, however. Some argue for more nuclear power, some for massive investment in renewables; some have even welcomed the recent recession as a curb on our consumption, which may allow us to keep going with existing levels of supply. While there seems to be agreement that any solution must be green, there is a notable lack of urgency about putting solutions in place - actually funding the investment and getting started - and, importantly, a lack of clarity as to just why we need so much energy. Much discussion focuses on increasing energy efficiency (loft insulation and smart metering) but there is much less discussion about the need to increase the absolute amounts of energy available.
Have we really got enough energy? Is it imperative for energy policy to be dictated by concern about carbon emissions, or is there an argument for energy for its own sake, whatever the weather? Few argue that impacts on the climate should be ignored, but should they be the primary driver for policy or a secondary, longer-term, consideration? Just what share of investment should be directed towards ‘clean’ energy production? Or is it incumbent on us all to get over our addiction to oil and start to live more sustainably? What future for energy?
Listen to session audio:
energy consultant, Shell; lead consultant, Shell's World Energy Model
science writer and researcher; co-author, Energise! A future for energy innovation
editor-in-chief, Green Futures; visiting judge, Ashden Awards for Sustainable Energy
PhD student in sociology, University of Kent, Canterbury; co-founder, IoI Current Affairs Forum
A rise in the cost of extracting energy will hit productivityEconomist, 22 October 2010
The world’s leading powers have finally agreed to finance a joint nuclear fusion project.Harry de Quetteville, Daily Telegraph, 10 August 2010
The senators who emerged from a White House meeting with President Obama on energy policy on Tuesday made no effort to paper over the large differences that remain between them.John M. Broder, New York Times, 30 June 2010
Single-cell organisms living in oceans and ponds could provide a fresh new source of energyPhilip Hunter, Prospect, 22 June 2010
Huge reserves of shale gas could transform energy supplies in the west—and cut carbon emissionsDerek Brower, Prospect, 23 March 2010
The financial crisis has cast a shadow over the future of Britain's renewable industry. It will need a lot of government help to stay afloatLewis Smith, Prospect, 29 October 2009
James Woudhuysen and Joe Kaplinsky, Beautiful Books, 22 January 2009