What might be the energy demand and energy mix to reconcile the world's pursuit of welfare and happiness with the necessity to preserve the integrity of the biosphere?
In today's global energy mix with a share of 80% fossil energy, the growth of the world population and energy demand will lead to a conflict between stable ecosystems and global welfare. The inspection of social indexes of welfare and happiness leads to the following energy plan: high-income countries with a current annual energy demand of up to 8 tonnes of oil equivalent per capita (toe pc) have to reduce their demand to 2Â toe pc, which should be sufficient without cutback in welfare. Vice versa, low-income countries increase their demand until 2Â toe pc are reached. Compared to today this scenario (2Â toe pc, 9 billion people by 2050) leads to an increase of the ecological footprint from today 1.3 to 2 planet Earths in today's technologies. The only solution to provide 2Â toe pc without damaging the biosphere is a reduction of the CO2 footprint with a current share of 50%. A complete shift from fossil fuels to renewables would half the ecological footprint as needed for the desired footprint of one planet Earth. To reach this goal, one or more forms of solar power and/or nuclear power are needed, as the potential of non-solar renewables is too small.
References listed on IDEAS
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- A. Hoekstra & A. Chapagain, 2007. "Water footprints of nations: Water use by people as a function of their consumption pattern," Water Resources Management, Springer, vol. 21(1), pages 35-48, January.
- Aleklett, Kjell & Höök, Mikael & Jakobsson, Kristofer & Lardelli, Michael & Snowden, Simon & Söderbergh, Bengt, 2010. "The Peak of the Oil Age - Analyzing the world oil production Reference Scenario in World Energy Outlook 2008," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 1398-1414, March.
- Easterlin, Richard A, 2001. "Income and Happiness: Towards an Unified Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 465-84, July.
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