Providing safe renewable energy

 

Preferred State: Abundant, clean, safe and affordable energy supplies for 100% of humanity

Problem State: Three billion people live in societies that are without access to enough energy to meet their needs

Strategy 7: Sustainable Energy Systems

The second component of the Securing Our Energy Future strategy entails a significant development effort to provide a viable, safe and secure alternative to current sources of energy, which are not only exhaustible, but increasingly expensive, from often politically volatile and unstable sources, pose health risks to people living near production and processing facilities, and are mostly carbon-rich and hence accelerate global warming. If subsidies to oil, coal, gas and nuclear energy were removed or a full cost accounting were done that included environmental costs, nuclear waste clean up, security costs and lessened employment, the costs of energy from renewable sources would be substantially lower than that from fossil and nuclear sources.(92) And as The Economist notes, "Removing all subsidies to fossil fuels would encourage consumers both to conserve energy and to switch to other fuels, something that would cause greenhouse gases to fall 4 to 18%."(93) Even with modest levels of incentives and funding, renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power plants, have exhibited substantial economic benefits.(94) The fastest growing energy source in the world in the 1990's is wind power, which expanded worldwide from 2000 megawatts in 1990 to nearly 5000 megawatts in 1995. There are over 25,000 wind turbines operating in the world in 1996.(95)

With a vibrant renewable energy industry, a new growth industry will replace an older industry whose fluctuating fuel costs have led to periods of severe unemployment, recession and instability in many areas (a specter raised again with the Iraqi invasion and annexation of its oil-rich neighbor, Kuwait and the resultant war and its associated costs). Switching over to renewable energy sources as rapidly as prudent and practical economics allows would endow the world energy regime with increased economic, political and environmental security.

An investment of about $17 billion per year for ten years dedicated to phasing in and development would enable humanity to embark on a path toward a sustainable system of fulfilling the world's energy needs.(96) These resources would be spent on phasing out economic subsidies to oil, gas, coal and nuclear industries, while phasing in incentives to renewable energy sources-thereby leveling the economic playing field for all energy sources. Government use of renewable energy for its military, postal and administrative functions would create the infrastructure and mass market needed for mass production and economic competitiveness in today's economy. National tax incentives, similar to that which in California resulted in over 4000 megawatts of installed wind power in less than six years, would accelerate the switch to renewable energy in the developed world.

Costs/Benefits

Total investment is only 13% of current subsidies to electricity prices in the developing world(97) or about 2.2% of the world's total annual military expenditures. Benefits include a cleaner environment, less carbon emissions into the atmosphere and thereby less pressure on global warming, more stable energy supplies in price and in potential for political disruption, and more availability of energy in energy-needing parts of the world.

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What the World Wants Chart >

Eighteen Strategies...

...for tackling the major problems confronting humanity:

1. Eliminate Starvation and Malnourishment >
2. Provide Health Care & AIDS Control >
3. Provide Shelter >
4. Provide Clean Safe Water >
5. Eliminate Illiteracy >
6. Provide Clean, Safe Energy: Efficiency >
7. Provide Clean, Safe Energy: Renewables
(current page)
8. Retire Developing Nations Debt >
9. Stabilize Population >
10. Prevent Soil Erosion >
11. Stop Deforestation >
12. Stop Ozone Depletion >
13. Prevent Acid Rain >
14. Prevent Global Warming >
15. Remove Landmines >
16. Refugee Relief >
17. Eliminating Nuclear Weapons >
18. Build Democracy >

*Sources:
The What the World Wants Project is by Medard Gabel and the research staff of the World Game Institute. The material in this section of Media Hell is quoted directly from that research. Credits, Major References & Footnotes >