Environment 2000

A Path to Sustainable Energy by 2030



The main message of this text is to demonstrate the feasibility of changing the world’s energy systems of today, meaning fossil fuels,  into alternative energy sources which would be using natural perpetual resources. Mark Z. Johnson and Mark A. Delucchi have a plan “to determine how 100% of the world’s energy, for all purposes, could be supplied by wind, water and solar resources, by as early as 2030.” The best energy systems according to a Stanford University study in 2009, are wind, solar, geothermal, tidal and hydroelectric power, all driven by wind, water or sunlight. The two authors have come up with several different options for all energy purposes. Their plan entail only clean technology, meaning having technology that is already working, or that is almost up and running, so they do not have to wait another decade for a machine. The technology they will be using need to have zero emissions of greenhouse gases. Another idea that they have is to use hydrogen, produced by WWS electricity to do electrolysis, and this hydrogen would power fuel cells and be burned in airplanes and industry. For example, an electric car uses 75-80% of its electricity to move, whereas gasoline only uses 17-20% of its energy to move, while the rest is let off as heat in the atmosphere. The authors mention how their plan would work, with all the details, such as how many wind turbines and photovoltaic power plants they will need to have enough energy for the whole world.  It is said in the text that the obstacles for their plan are primarily political. Ideally this plan can take place in 10-15 years, but with politics, it will be more like 40-50 years.


Question : What is the most effective way to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions?

Based on the text “A  Path to Sustainable Energy by 2030”, the most effective way to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions, is to eliminate all fossil fuels. Therefore, using alternative energy sources. A transition to eliminating these fossil fuels, is having a carbon tax, and having electric cars be more available to the population. The alternative energy sources are powered by wind, water and sunlight. The authors plan to have sustainable energy by 2030 indicate that there needs to be 3.8 million large wind turbines, 89,000 photovoltaic and concentrated solar power plants, 900 hydroelectric stations to fuel the world’s population energy demand. This is very achievable if the politicians would agree and invest in the very near future, and not wait until the very last minute when it is too late.

Resources :
MARK Z. JACOBSON AND MARK A. DELUCCHI; A Path to Sustainable Energy by 2030; Scientific American (November 2009); T. A. Easton (Ed.), Classic Edition Sources: Environmental studies (4th ed., pp. 72-75). New York, NY: Mc Graw Hill