Invited speaker :

A Risk Look at Energy Development

Activity: Talk/lecture or presentationTalk/lecture

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Life has many risks: air pollution, auto accidents, terrorism, cybercrimes and system failures, among others. But the biggest risk today is energy and energy safety. While modern society and our quality of life depend on energy consumption, for electricity generation, transportation, industrial output and maintaining homes and business buildings, for example, the problems that arise from energy consumption, such as global warming and environment degradation, challenge the sustainability of the environment.
There are seven colors in a rainbow, which is the term (“rainbow energies”) I use to refer to a spectrum of seven different kinds of energies: hydropower, fossil (coal, oil and natural gas), nuclear, wind, solar, biofuel and others (geothermal, ocean energy and marsh gas). All have strengths and weaknesses in terms of their efficiency, safety, reliability, environmental impact, reserves and economic value. Selections of an energy portfolio and the assessment of the safety and environmental friendliness of a particular energy have to be undertaken by looking at the “life cycle” pollution of different energy sources, environmental impact, sustainability, and financial and non-financial risks.

Admittedly, renewable energies have witnessed rapid development in recent years worldwide in a concerted effort to curb greenhouse gas emissions. And yet, wind power production still constitutes only 4% in the global power mix and solar PV represents 1%, while fossil fuels remain the world’s dominant energy source, accounting for around 65%. Coal, the main culprit for greenhouse gas emissions, represents 43% of fossil fuels, even though the coal-fired generation share of total electricity production is declining, and still causes 7 million death a year due to air pollution, according to the United Nations. Any discussion of energies today cannot neglect nuclear energy as a key base-load power, despite concerns about possible radiation leaks and nuclear waste.

We should not forget, at the same time, that 30% of the world’s population has no, or extremely limited, electricity resources and yet they have to bear the consequences of any energy combinations adopted by the rest of the world.

The use of fossil fuels, and the climate change resulting from global warming, is affecting the future of our planet. Only a rational analysis of the relationship of energy and the environment will give us a clearer picture. In order to address the problem of energy and environmental protection, we need to pool our collective wisdom and carry out inter-domain cooperation.

Research Unit / Event Journal/Book Series


Title231st ECS Meeting
LocationNew Orleans
PlaceUnited States
Degree of recognitionInternational event