Click to enlarge. Source: IEA

Can our insatiable appetite for energy be met efficiently and cleanly by renewable sources?

Click to enlarge. Source: OECD/IEA

In OECD countries coal has a blackened image. Yet, it remains a key component of any energy mix. Innovation might help make that future brighter.

Click to enlarge. Source: IEA

Fighting global warming means reducing dependency on oil. But though supply is insecure, it remains plentiful. Keeping oil in the energy mix makes sense.

Click to enlarge. Source: OECD

Can taxation help governments achieve environmental goals with respect to energy use and emissions? Yes, with conditions.

Click to enlarge. Source: IEA

Global warming, finite fossil fuels and geopolitical risks make a shift to renewable energies inevitable. Though it is a challenge fraught with uncertainties, no action would be worse. An alternative, workable energy strategy is within reach.

Transport is the main cause of carbon dioxide emissions, ahead of power generation or industry. While aviation accounts for 14% of transport-based CO2 emissions in the EU, roads have a larger effect. In OECD countries, road transport accounts for over 80% of all transport-related energy consumption, for most of the accidents and the majority of air pollutant emissions, noise and habitat degradation.

Click to enlarge. Source: V.Smil

Transition to new energy sources is unavoidable, but here are five sobering first principles to remember along the way.

Energy has moved to the top of our policy agendas, and with good reason. First, there is the price of oil, which though easing a little in recent months, remains historically high. This has pushed up costs for producers and consumers alike.

Click to enlarge. Source: OECD/NEA

OECD countries share the same goals of sustainable development, but differ in their views on the role of nuclear energy in achieving those goals. Indeed, few energy sources have been scrutinised in the public spotlight over the years quite as much. The question is simple: is nuclear really a sustainable energy?

Building a new global energy strategy to improve efficiency and tackle global warming requires political leadership. It also demands practical, hands-on policy action. It is one thing for governments to recognise that energy is under-invested, vulnerable and dirty, but are they starting to move?

Click to enlarge. Source: IEA

The possibility of using renewable energy to produce electricity on a significant scale is a heated debate.

Click to enlarge. By StiK, especially for the OECD Observer.

Most public debate about water concerns freshwater. Yet coastal zones are coming under increasing pressure, too. Time for renewed action. 

Click to enlarge.

Can the Kyoto protocol, which came into force on 16 February 2005, work? Although natural phenomena such as large volcanic eruptions, ocean currents, the likes of El Niño or even changes in the earth’s tilt might all be contributing factors, carbon dioxide (CO2) generated by human activity–whether running homes and factories or driving cars and lawnmowers–is cited as a major culprit in the rise of global temperatures.

Click to enlarge. By StiK, especially for the OECD Observer.

Click to enlarge. By Stik, especially for the OECD Observer

Economic data

GDP growth: +0.6% Q3 2017 year-on-year
Consumer price inflation: 2.4% Nov 2017 annual
Trade: +4.3% exp, +4.3% imp, Q3 2017
Unemployment: 5.6% Nov 2017
Last update: 16 Jan 2018

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