The panacea to our energy and climate problems

It was obvious and I should have thought about it earlier : energy efficiency (or conservation) is the panacea, the ultimate remedy to all our energy scarcity and climate change mitigation needs.

Whether in our homes and offices, in the vehicles we drive or in the appliances we use, this solution can be applied everywhere and at anytime and represent perfect long-term investments.

It’s time our leaders act on this matter as the OECD and the International Energy Agency are urging them to do so and as the cheapest energy is the one we don’t use.

7 thoughts on “The panacea to our energy and climate problems”

  1. Edouard, Excellent point. We all waste a considerable amount of energy. If everyone conserved (businesses and individuals alike) conserved, the amount we could save would be staggering, I suspect! ~ Daryl

  2. Many thanks Daryl for your kind comment…

    Indeed, even if I have no exact figure, I think I remember reading we could save half of the energy we are using. That’s quite a staggering amount.

    This is the case at least with American cars and their current mileage of 10 liters of oil for 100 kilometers when cars here can use no more than 5 to 4 liters…. and ones using less than 3 may arrive soon.

    With the Mondial de l’Automobile taking place in Paris as I write, I guess I will write an article this week on future cars and their mileages…

  3. The best way to find out if you’re right, Verda Vivo, is to try it and see. For example, see the example one-tonne CO2 lifestyle. Eight of the nine guidelines save lots of energy, and money, too – with no personal spending needed upfront (unlike putting in insulation or solar panels, etc). Not everyone can do all nine things there, but most people can do most of them, and everyone can do something.

    We’ve done it, and reduced our greenhouse impact to under a quarter the Western average, and under the world average.

    Try it and see. Personal example is very powerful. I come at the issue from a personal level – what’s my contribution? Can I change that? I cannot really complain about all the infidelity in society while I am screwing around on my wife, nor can I complain about coal mining’s mountain top removal while I’m buying power from a coal-fired station.

    For example, you write on your blog, “The United States needs to make three different types of AC; one for the humid South, one for the hot, dry West and one for the temperate Midwest.” I would say rather that the United States needs to turn their ACoff. The EIA tells us that in 1980 27% of households had AC, and in 2001 it was 55%. Did the extra 28% really need it? Did 28% of households have illness because of the tremendous heat and humidity? It seems not. This leads us to question the original 27% of households with AC.

    Certainly the elderly and infirm suffer, become ill and even die without AC in some climates. But most households don’t have elderly and infirm people – certainly not 55% of households, nor even 27%. So really it turns out that for most households, AC is like a plasma screen tv – nice to have, but hardly a necessity.

    This is what Daharja is talking about as the difference between “Designer Green” and “Frugal Green”. Designer Green wants specialised machines for everything, Frugal Green just turns them off. That does not mean we use no machines at all; but a 50W fan combined with a 50W fridge to cool your drinks will cool you just as effectively as a 2,500W AC unit. Next to that 2,400W savings from turning off the AC and having a fan and a cool drink, the 500W savings from a specialised AC unit looks pretty sad. And not every household can afford a new AC unit, whereas you have to be pretty poor not to be able to afford a little fan.

    One of the beauties of conserving energy is that it’s a solution anyone can try, rich or poor, right now, without waiting for some new technology.

    Try it and see.

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