Energy

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There is currently no way to power the world without fossil fuels, until major technological breakthroughs happen.
We have to consume less - this is not as hard as it sounds.

This page is about energy in 2 main forms: fuel and electricity.

Energy supply

The majority of energy comes from burning fossil fuels - the main cause of climate change.

World energy by source

Fossil fuels include coal, oil and natural gas.

What about other energy sources?

Main reasons why non-fossil-fuel energy sources aren't being scaled up:

Energy Source
Main Limitation
Hydro Geography
Nuclear Needs uranium-235 which is too scarce*
Solar Too many rare metals needed*
Wind Geography
Biofuel Causes deforestation and global hunger
Waste Limited supply
Geothermal Geography - in most parts of the world, it's only suited for heating & cooling.

Solar and wind are also limited by energy storage.*

*Limitations marked with an asterisk (*) are possible to overcome with the right innovations.

For more details, read the wikipages of each energy source. Links are in the table above.

Energy demand

Pie chart of energy demand, based on countries where precise data is available.

Since most energy consumption is bad for the planet, let's look at how it could be reduced - starting with the biggest pieces of the pie.

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Note: These actions are mostly directed at "first-world" countries, which use a disproportionately large amount of energy. In other parts of the world, consumption doesn't necessarily have to be reduced.

We could probably cut all energy consumption in half, while barely losing any quality of life. It just requires some planning (both individually and as a society).

Transportation

Some things that would help:

  • Walkability - organizing neighborhoods so things are in optimal locations, so people don't have to drive as far as often.
  • Public transit done right. Yes, there are plenty of ways for it to be done wrong!
  • Working from home - only suited for some types of work, of course.
  • Carpooling - yes, this takes some effort and coordination.

Homes & buildings

In buildings & homes, heating is the biggest piece of the pie (and cooling is the second-biggest). Energy-saving solutions haven't been added to this wiki yet.[RESEARCH needed]

A common misconception is that "saving energy" is all about turning off lights, turning off computers, etc. Those actions may be worthwhile but don't actually make a big difference. Other personal lifestyle choices do:

Consumerism

More than a third of energy demand(...)( commercial vehicles + industrial/manufacturing + some commercial spaces ) is affected by what people buy, and how much of it.

To deal with this piece of the pie, we need:

See also