When the International Energy Agency (IEA) was formed in 1974, concern over climate change was in its infancy. While the greenhouse effect was known it was not widely recognised, and the debate about the long-term effect of CO2 emissions was confined more or less to academia.
"Electric vehicles are the only practical, affordable solution to our planet’s environmental challenges–and they are available today."
What role can nuclear energy play in combating climate change? According to the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA), it can play a very pivotal one.
Faced with heavy pollution and congested roads, Paris is turning to electric vehicles to restore air quality. Its incentive policies for all forms of transport should inspire cities all over the world to follow suit.
A residential site on the rue Saint Charles in the 15th arrondissement of Paris was the first retrofit under the Climate Plan led by the city’s property management agency, Régie Immobilière de la Ville de Paris (RIVP). The project proved complex but exemplary, not just in its implementation and execution, but also in terms of managing relationships.
Already a showcase when it was opened for the 1889 World’s Fair, the Eiffel Tower continues to light the way forward today, with sustainability being a feature on the monument’s new first floor unveiled in 2014.
Are we about to switch to new energy sources? Grandiose plans are being drawn up for installing veritable forests of giant wind turbines, turning crops and straw into fuel ethanol and biodiesel, and for tapping solar radiation by fields of photovoltaic cells. As with most innovations, there is excitement and high expectation. Will these developments and other renewable energy conversions one day replace fossil fuels? Eventually they will have to, but a reality check is in order.
Global electricity demand declined in 2009 for the first time since the end of World War II according to OECD estimates. Electricity demand experienced a constant climb over the second half of the 20th century through the oil crises of the 1970s, the Black Monday crash of 1987, and on through the dot-com bubble bursting at the turn of the millennium as development countered all downward forces. The credit crunch of 2008 though, has resulted in a drop of as much as 1.6% based on OECD figures derived from the IMF’s latest GDP growth forecast for 2009.
Environmental policies can change people’s daily habits, as a new OECD survey shows.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) is 35 years old in 2009. A sister organisation of the OECD, it offers a timely reminder that a co-ordinated public response to a crisis can succeed.
Predicting the future is all very well, but how much will it cost to keep the world’s engines running? This publication is the first-ever attempt to comprehensively examine future investment needs, worldwide, in all parts of the energy-supply chain.
On 2 November, Morocco launched a US$9 billion solar energy programme. With five power plants, the programme aims for a total installed capacity of 2,000 MW by 2020-equivalent to almost 40% of the country's electricity production.
The efficiency of power grids may be in the spotlight now, but the availability of energy resources is also a burning and divisive question. Renewables Information 2003, from the International Energy Agency, shows that in the past decade, renewable energy sources, such as solar power, hydro, wind and combustible biomass resources have been gaining ground.
California is famous for blue skies and leading-edge technology parks. Combine the two and, no surprise, you will find that the state may be taking a lead in solar energy too. Then consider the fact that housing developers are simply replacing traditional roof materials with solar panels as part of new buildings and below the cost of a normal mortgage, and this all begins to sound like a movie script from… California.
Nuclear energy could help in the battle to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but for many the production of nuclear waste outweighs this advantage. One important challenge is to convince an often reluctant public that with new waste disposal techniques, nuclear energy is worth a second look in the interests of sustainable development.
Energy production and consumption patterns are shifting. So are the challenges for investment and global energy policy.
The Johannesburg summit is a golden opportunity to move forward on some tough sustainable development issues. But the agenda has grown and become unwieldy. Progress will depend on getting back to some global basics.
Nuclear energy is back in the public eye in light of the concerns about climate change and the need for a sustainable energy supply. Some powerful public voices are unconvinced about the technology’s competitiveness and safety. For Luis Echávarri, Director-General, OECD Nuclear Energy Agency, these doubts should be put to rest.
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