Keywords: acid rain, air pollution, energy conservation, energy efficiency, energy use, environmental impact, greenhouse effect, nuclear energy, ozone layer, pollutant emission, renewable energy, energy consumption, fuel substitution, alternative fuels
Current and future perspectives on energy use and environmental impact
Energy consumption throughout the world contributes to pollution, environmental deterioration, and greenhouse gas emissions. Increases in energy consumption are usually driven by population growth and economic development that tends to increase energy use per capita. Thus, the projected increase in population in the near future, and the economic development that is likely in many countries, have serious implications for the environment. Since the early 1980s the relationship between energy use and environmental impact has received attention, and a number of activities have focused on this topic. In this paper, four important areas related to current and future patterns of environmental impact are introduced and discussed in detail: environmental impact, energy consumption, energy efficiency and conservation, and fuel substitution. We conclude that further political, economic and institutional changes from the standpoint of environmental impact appear to be necessary for future energy policies. To this end, energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy resources can play important roles in controlling and reducing environmental impact.