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Energy descent is a process whereby a society either voluntarily or involuntarily reduces its total energy consumption.
Energy descent can be understood in relation to peak oil, in which case there is a theoretical post-peak oil transitional phase characterized by a descending use of energy. The peak oil energy descent model has focused mainly on resource scarcity leading to an involuntary contraction of energy use.
The phrase "energy descent" has also become increasingly associated with the voluntary and deliberate choice of a society to reduce energy consumption in response to the global climate crisis.The basic premise of energy descent in this latter context is that a simple replacement of fossil fuels with renewable and cleaner energy sources won't be feasible in the time frame required by an effective response to the global climate crisis. That is, those who call for a voluntary energy descent doubt that clean and renewable energy sources can simply replace the total quantity of energy currently in use while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Energy descent refers to retraction of oil use after the peak oil availability or voluntary energy use reductions in response to the global climate crisis.
Planning and preparing for the peak oil energy descent period has been recently promoted by David Holmgren, Rob Hopkins of the Transition Towns movement, and Richard Heinberg in the 2004 book Power down . Many who have planned and prepared for peak oil now see the climate crisis as an equally important -- or greater -- near term concern as compared with energy resource scarcity brought about by peak oil.
That oil reserves are dwindling is now becoming acknowledged more widely, especially after the International Energy Agency released the 2008 World Energy Outlook report.Between 2007 and 2008 the IEA changed its figures for projected rate of decline in world energy supply from 3.7% a year (2007) to a projected rate of decline of 6.7% a year (2008) leading to a peak in oil supplies in 2020.
In 2008 several major companies including Arup, Yahoo, and Virgin created the UK Industry Taskforce on Peak Oil and Energy Security (ITPOES) and released a report, The Oil Crunch,which calls for 'collaborative contingency planning' by government and industry in the face of dwindling oil reserves.
An Energy Descent Action Plan (EDAP) is a local plan for planning and preparing for energy descent. It goes well beyond issues of energy supply, to look at across-the-board creative adaptations in the realms of health, education, economy and much more. Energy Descent Planning is a process developed by the Transition Towns Movement.
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Some techno-optimists, such as Julian Simon, have disputed energy projections such as this, arguing that as oil becomes more expensive, humanity will tend to diversify its energy sources away from a reliance on oil, thus avoiding undesired global reductions in energy usage.
An energy crisis is any significant bottleneck in the supply of energy resources to an economy. In literature, it often refers to one of the energy sources used at a certain time and place, in particular those that supply national electricity grids or those used as fuel in Industrial development and population growth have led to a surge in the global demand for energy in recent years. In the 2000s, this new demand — together with Middle East tension, the falling value of the U.S. dollar, dwindling oil reserves, concerns over peak oil, and oil price speculation — triggered the 2000s energy crisis, which saw the price of oil reach an all-time high of $147.30 a barrel in 2008.
The International Energy Agency is a Paris-based autonomous intergovernmental organization established in the framework of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 1974 in the wake of the 1973 oil crisis. The IEA was initially dedicated to responding to physical disruptions in the supply of oil, as well as serving as an information source on statistics about the international oil market and other energy sectors.
Peak oil is the theorized point in time when the maximum rate of extraction of petroleum is reached, after which it is expected to enter terminal decline. As of 2019 peak oil forecasts range from the early 2020s to the 2040s, depending on economics and how governments respond to global warming. It is often confused with oil depletion; however, whereas depletion refers to a period of falling reserves and supply, peak oil refers to the point of maximum production. The concept of peak oil is often credited to geologist M. King Hubbert whose 1956 paper first presented a formal theory.
Demand response is a change in the power consumption of an electric utility customer to better match the demand for power with the supply. Until recently electric energy could not be easily stored, so utilities have traditionally matched demand and supply by throttling the production rate of their power plants, taking generating units on or off line, or importing power from other utilities. There are limits to what can be achieved on the supply side, because some generating units can take a long time to come up to full power, some units may be very expensive to operate, and demand can at times be greater than the capacity of all the available power plants put together. Demand response seeks to adjust the demand for power instead of adjusting the supply.
The energy policy of the United States is determined by federal, state, and local entities in the United States, which address issues of energy production, distribution, and consumption, such as building codes and gas mileage standards. Energy policy may include legislation, international treaties, subsidies and incentives to investment, guidelines for energy conservation, taxation and other public policy techniques.
Energy use in the United Kingdom stood at 2,249 TWh in 2014. This equates to energy consumption per capita of 34.82 MWh compared to a 2010 world average of 21.54 MWh. Demand for electricity in 2014 was 34.42GW on average coming from a total electricity generation of 335.0TWh.
The current energy policy of the United Kingdom is set out in the Energy White Paper of May 2007 and Low Carbon Transition Plan of July 2009, building on previous work including the 2003 Energy White Paper and the Energy Review Report in 2006. It was led by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, then headed by Amber Rudd. The current focus of policy are on reforming the electricity market, rolling out smart meters and improving the energy efficiency of the UK building stock through the Green Deal.
Renewable fuels are fuels produced from renewable resources. Examples include: biofuels and Hydrogen fuel. This is in contrast to non-renewable fuels such as natural gas, LPG (propane), petroleum and other fossil fuels and nuclear energy. Renewable fuels can include fuels that are synthesized from renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar. Renewable fuels have gained in popularity due to their sustainability, low contributions to the carbon cycle, and in some cases lower amounts of greenhouse gases. The geo-political ramifications of these fuels are also of interest, particularly to industrialized economies which desire independence from Middle Eastern oil.
A low-carbon economy (LCE), low-fossil-fuel economy (LFFE), or decarbonised economy is an economy based on low carbon power sources that therefore has a minimal output of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions into the biosphere, but specifically refers to the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. GHG emissions due to anthropogenic (human) activity are the dominant cause of observed global warming since the mid-20th century. Continued emission of greenhouse gases may cause long-lasting changes around the world, increasing the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.
World energy consumption is the total energy produced and used by the entire human civilization. Typically measured per year, it involves all energy harnessed from every energy source applied towards humanity's endeavors across every single industrial and technological sector, across every country. It does not include energy from food, and the extent to which direct biomass burning has been accounted for is poorly documented. Being the power source metric of civilization, world energy consumption has deep implications for humanity's socio-economic-political sphere.
Renewable energy commercialization involves the deployment of three generations of renewable energy technologies dating back more than 100 years. First-generation technologies, which are already mature and economically competitive, include biomass, hydroelectricity, geothermal power and heat. Second-generation technologies are market-ready and are being deployed at the present time; they include solar heating, photovoltaics, wind power, solar thermal power stations, and modern forms of bioenergy. Third-generation technologies require continued R&D efforts in order to make large contributions on a global scale and include advanced biomass gasification, hot-dry-rock geothermal power, and ocean energy. As of 2012, renewable energy accounts for about half of new nameplate electrical capacity installed and costs are continuing to fall.
Ensuring adequate energy supply to sustain economic growth has been a core concern of the Chinese government since 1949. Primary energy use in China was 26,250 TWh and 20 TWh per million persons in 2009. According to the International Energy Agency, the primary energy use grew 40% and electricity use 70% from 2004 to 2009.
The mitigation of peak oil is the attempt to delay the date and minimize the social and economic effects of peak oil by reducing the consumption of and reliance on petroleum. By reducing petroleum consumption, mitigation efforts seek to favorably change the shape of the Hubbert curve, which is the graph of real oil production over time predicted by Hubbert peak theory. The peak of this curve is known as peak oil, and by changing the shape of the curve, the timing of the peak in oil production is affected. An analysis by the author of the Hirsch report showed that while the shape of the oil production curve can be affected by mitigation efforts, mitigation efforts are also affected by the shape of Hubbert curve.
China is the world's leading country in electricity production from renewable energy sources, with over double the generation of the second-ranking country, the United States. By the end of 2018, the country had a total capacity of 728 GW of renewable power, mainly from hydroelectric and wind power. China's renewable energy sector is growing faster than its fossil fuels and nuclear power capacity.
Mitigation of global warming involves taking actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to enhance sinks aimed at reducing the extent of global warming. This is in distinction to adaptation to global warming, which involves taking action to minimize the effects of global warming. Scientific consensus on global warming, together with the precautionary principle and the fear of non-linear climate transitions, is leading to increased effort to develop new technologies and sciences and carefully manage others in an attempt to mitigate global warming.
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"A Green New Deal" was a report released in the United Kingdom on 21 July 2008 by the Green New Deal Group and published by the New Economics Foundation, which outlines a series of policy proposals to tackle global warming, the current financial crisis, and peak oil. The report calls for the re-regulation of finance and taxation, and major government investment in renewable energy sources. Its full title is: A Green New Deal: Joined-up policies to solve the triple crunch of the credit crisis, climate change and high oil prices.
Post Carbon Institute (PCI) is a think tank which provides information and analysis on climate change, energy scarcity, and other issues related to sustainability and long term community resilience. Its Fellows specialize in various fields related to the organization's mission, such as fossil fuels, renewable energy, food, water, and population. Post Carbon is incorporated as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and is based in Corvallis, Oregon, United States.
Peak minerals marks the point in time when the largest production of a mineral will occur in an area, with production declining in subsequent years. While most mineral resources will not be exhausted in the near future, global extraction and production is becoming more challenging. Miners have found ways over time to extract deeper and lower grade ores with lower production costs. More than anything else, declining average ore grades are indicative of ongoing technological shifts that have enabled inclusion of more 'complex' processing – in social and environmental terms as well as economic – and structural changes in the minerals exploration industry and these have been accompanied by significant increases in identified Mineral Reserves.
Energy transition is generally defined as a long-term structural change in energy systems. These have occurred in the past, and still occur worldwide. Historic energy transitions are most broadly described by Vaclav Smil. Contemporary energy transitions differ in terms of motivation and objectives, drivers and governance.