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Über dieses Buch

Against the backdrop of rapid advances in the energy sector, this book provides a concise overview of the complex challenges in the energy paradigm today, which revolve around the seemingly unsolvable energy equation.
The author, an experienced energy professional, combines the various aspects of the energy transition into a single perspective. While highlighting a number of salient problems, he also explores grounds for optimism that these challenges can and will be met.
After establishing the historical context, the book presents an analysis of today’s energy industry, different energy sources, countries and determinants of energy demand, supplementing all sections with a wealth of global and local data. It subsequently proposes measures to solve the energy equation and a roadmap for a sustainable future, based on more efficient energy use, cleaner energy production and advanced technologies.



1. Introduction

Between 1950 and 2050, the world population will have increased from 2.5 billion people to more than 9 billion people and global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will have multiplied by 40 (University of Groningen 2014; The Guardian 2011). Humanity is not in the middle of an evolution. Rather, it is in the center of a complete change of paradigm. In four generations, the world has come to saturation—overpopulated, interconnected, and avidly consuming energy.

Vincent Petit

2. Historical Determinisms Shaping Tomorrow’s World

Since the second half of the twentieth century, the world has experienced a radical increase in its population (Planetoscope 2014). This should continue during the first half of the twenty-first century and then stabilize. Within a century, the world population will have thus increased from 2.5 billion people to over nine billion in 2050 (Fig. 2.1).

Vincent Petit

3. The Energy Industry: Running at Full Speed

The world faces new challenges in energy production. The sharp increase in demand linked to population growth and new economies leads to higher demands on resources and production means. The “energy machine” is running at full speed and ensuring a sustainable supply of the rising demand is the day-to-day challenge of the energy industry.

Vincent Petit

4. The New Energy Paradigm and Balance of Power

Deep historical continuities happen worldwide. The spectacular growth in world population and the economic catching up of new economies lead to a significant increase in energy demand worldwide. Almost everywhere, the economy runs at full speed and the world of energy follows up, using the ways of the past. These continuities are historical determinisms. Economically, they modify deeply the balance of power between countries. Energy-wise, they modify considerably the landscape of geopolitical relationships. The combination of these evolutions either smoothens or accentuates the tensions between nations, in the process redrawing the map of the world’s economic centers of gravity. Three major lines of geopolitical tensions are highlighted here: the relative isolation of the American continent, the growing relationships between countries surrounding the Arabian Sea, and the enhanced partnerships between China and the Eurasian shelf.

Vincent Petit

5. The Path Towards a Sustainable Tomorrow

As its population increases and living standards improve, the world reaches new heights in terms of energy needs. The energy industry works at full speed to meet a very inelastic demand. Everywhere, it is pushing to the limits the technology that it developed decades ago, while looking with excitement to new ways of doing the same thing. The basics of the processes which drove the Industrial Revolution have been perfected but their principles have so far remained unchallenged. Consequently, the world continues to spend tremendous amounts of energy with massive inefficiency. The acceleration of population growth and the accompanying higher need for energy have surfaced new issues. More and more people are beginning to wonder if the world is able to meet its growing needs, and for how long more? Progressively, people are realizing that they are creating an energy debt for future generations and that this debt will be what they will remember us for.

Vincent Petit

6. Towards 2100

Considerable historical continuities have shaken the balance established previously. The world we live in today has already undergone several major transformations. As always, these changes are difficult to perceive as they take several decades to fully realize. When immersed in the daily actions of human life, it is often difficult to take some distance and look at the historical changes happening before one’s eyes. These changes however will what will be remembered from our time, and it will become obvious, when looking at this period from far in the future, that these continuities have shaped the new world we are entering.

Vincent Petit
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