Category Green Energy Technology, Economics and Policy

CLIMATE CHANGE CHALLENGE AND POVERTY

Anthropogenic emissions due to industrialization, especially because of the burning of fossil fuels and land use change augment atmospheric temperature, resulting in rise in sea level, receding glaciers and flash floods, frequent droughts, devastating hurricanes and so on. These calamities affect the population globally, but the poor are going to pay the price more because of their vulnerability and lack of choice. The IPCC fourth Assessment report points out that, “As generally known, the impacts of climate change are distributed very unequally across the planet, hurting the vulnerable and poor countries of the tropics much more that the richer countries in the temperate regions’’ (IPCC, 2007, p. 144)...

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Poverty, environment and climate change

K. M.Thayyib Sahini (IAEA, Vienna)

24.1 INTRODUCTION

One sixth of humanity is still living in extreme poverty and struggling to have bare necessities of life. In spite of all the scientific achievements, technological progress and modern economic growth, poverty is still a continuing reality. A common understand­ing of absolute poverty is deprivation of a person from accessing the basic necessities of life, such as food, clothing and shelter. This is mainly due to the lack of income, even though poverty can be caused by social inequality or social injustice. But the access to basic necessities can’t alone assure the happiness and well being of a person that is called relative poverty, which differs across regions and societies...

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EDUCATION AND OUTREACH

Educating the people about the advantages of switching to green measures or encour­aging them to adopt such measures goes a long way in mobilizing the public opinion in favour of positive action. Energy Policy had been exclusively been in the domain of ‘technocrats’ and ‘specialists.’ However, bold policies can be taken only when the policy makers enjoy the support of the people. Hence involving more public participa­tion, creating platforms for debates to hear different views and eliciting the opinions of the people are crucial. Any green energy approach that does not have an integral educa­tion and training is likely to fail. Therefore education can be considered a prerequisite for the success of a sustainable energy program.

This area had been generally overlooked as it is as...

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SOCIAL SECURITY

When a decision is taken towards transition to green economy, the issue of social security comes up. Will these new measures render some people to lose their livelihoods, their jobs or – make their lives comparitively more difficult? The implementation of green energy directives entails heavy investments in their new energy-efficient houses? These are a few questions that are often raised by the citizenry. Since the general process of consultation is absent in energy policy making, people tend to have more questions. Therefore, the government has to address the issue in its totality. Any comprehensive energy policy cannot be formulated excluding the other dependant factors...

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EMPLOYMENT GENERATION

A contentious issue when a government attempts an all important policy decision regarding green energy is the issue of employment. According to the IEA (2009) report, the investment in stimulus packages had a great potential of creating new jobs. It has to be understood that creating a new “green job’’ does not mean shutting down the exist­ing ‘polluting’ or ‘dirty’ industries—rather it is aimed towards re-skilling the workers towards the cleaner methods, usually by making slight changes to the existing methods.

The United Nations Environment Programme’s (2008) report defines green jobs as

“Work in agricultural, manufacturing, construction, installation and maintenance, research and development (R&D), technical administrative, and service activities that contribute subst...

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INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENT

An innovative mechanism that could be the much-needed solution to the Infrastructure and investment issues is proposed in the 2007 legislation in the US. This proposal envisages the creation of a National Infrastructure Bank, composed of a public-private financing mechanism (Ladislaw et al., 2009). Such a bank is expected to allow the federal government to finance projects of substantial regional or national significance more effectively. Green energy will become increasingly competitive in the market place, more so if the historically high rates of technological improvement continues. However, the challenge is not in improving the technologies but in making them to integrate with the existing systems and infrastructures.

The Stern Review called for suitable exit mechanisms and judicious m...

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RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

Research and Development funding is important because a majority of the world’s energy system is based primarily on the utilization of fossil fuels. Newer technologies are needed that are aimed at reducing the carbon emissions, but they are expensive and usually beyond the reach of the under-developed economies. As mentioned earlier, again a complex web of issues confront this area. R&D in technology broadly depends on the financial feasibility of a particular corporation as well as on the successful creation of market demand for that technology or product. The instances where the governments are involved in investing in R&D have seen a gradual decrease over the years.

In case of the US, a considerable decrease in the public sector funding for the Energy Related Research and Development ...

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FINANCIAL STIMULI

To a challenge so vast and that is restricted by investment as one of the main factors, financial stimuli is the much needed solution. However, with extensive liberalization of the energy markets (as in the EU zone) and state playing a major role in many resource – rich countries (like Venezuela, Russia, Iran) the promotion of greener technologies is not the prerogative of any single actor but it requires financial stimuli from multiple actors.

The recent economic crisis has affected corporates and governments alike. This trend is witnessed also in the field of energy. According to IEA 2009, the financial crisis has impacted the investment in the field of energy especially in terms of a tougher financing environment, weakening financial demand for energy and falling cash flows...

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