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.© 2008 - Ben Heine
Energy Vs Pollution:
How to clean the air?
By Dr Jagdish P N Giri (*)
The new growth wave on emerging trends in corporate social responsibility aims at evaluating impacts the globalisation might have on natural environment and global environmental and energy policy approaches.

An ongoing debate on inter-relationships among trade/investment, energy and environment, its footprints on environment and climate and quality of energy business in terms of natural environments in countries exporting environmental goods and energy services in the context of producers and consumers of a variety of energy resources viz carbon, hydrogen and renewable across the globe, including developing and transition economies, has already taken a significant shape.

Energy use and supply is of fundamental importance to society and, with the possible exception of agriculture and forestry, has made the greatest impact on the environment of any human activity a result of large-scale and pervasive nature of energy related activities. Although energy and environment concerns were originally local in character for example, problems associated with extraction, transport or noxious emissions they have now widened to cover regional and global issues such as acid rain, trans boundary impacts of energy use and the greenhouse effect.

Such problems have now become major political issues and the subject of international debate and regulation. It is for this reason that there is a need for the emergence of new growth wave on corporate social responsibility dedicated to energy and environmental issues on sustainable development and millennium development goals.

Globalisation, energy and environment is an inter-disciplinary corporate social responsibility in terms of evolving dimensions of society and business strategies aimed at natural scientists, technologists, economists and the international social science and policy communities covering the direct and indirect environmental impacts of energy acquisition, transport, production and use.

A particular objective of the debate is to cover social, economic and political dimensions of such issues at local, regional and international level. The relatively recent awareness about environmental concerns have convinced the policy makers to extend their attention beyond the black-box, least-cost models and consider other aspects of their policy decisions. As such, the policy makers have now moved ahead of analysis in taking a more comprehensive approach to energy strategy.

Consequently, the debate forum is inviting stakeholders from all countries with contributions that would help Aaditya Energy Foundation, based in Chennai to lead a global movement for sustainable energy, environment and economy in 21st century to outline more clearly the major debate around taming versus uncritically supporting globalisation and global energy/ environmental policy.

The debate aims to engage experts from exporting developing and transition economies as well as specialists from industrialised countries to share their experience on various aspects of energy resource exploitation, its environmental consequences, on consumption patterns, and markets, with corporate environmental and social responsibilities. In the near term energy technology perspective defined by International Energy Agency seems to provide a viable direction to energy business at large.

Secure, reliable and affordable energy supplies are fundamental to economic stability and development of the nation. Threat of disruptive climate change, erosion of energy security and growing energy needs of emerging economies of Asia like India and China, all pose major challenges for energy decision makers, as well as energy producers, traders and consumers.

That can only be met through innovation, adoption of new cost-effective technologies, and a better use of existing energy efficient technologies. Energy technology perspectives' present status and prospects for key energy technologies and assesses their potential; to make a difference in mid century term, in the following aspects:

• How much can technology contribute to securing adequate and affordable energy supplies and lower CO2 emissions? What energy technologies hold the most promise? How long will it take?

• At their 2005 summit, G-8 leaders confronted these questions and decided to act with resolve and urgency. They called upon the International Energy Agency to provide advice on scenarios and strategies for a clean and secure energy future. Energy technology perspectives are a response for G 8 request.

• Numerous innovative works demonstrates how energy technologies can make a difference in a series of global scenarios to 2050. It reviews in detail the status and prospects of key energy technologies in electricity generation, buildings, industry and transport. It assesses ways the world can enhance energy security and contain growth in CO2 emissions by using a portfolio of current and emerging technologies. Major strategic elements of a successful portfolio are energy efficiency, CO2 capture and storage, renewable energy resources and nuclear power.

• While technology does hold great promise for the future, we must act now if we are to unlock the potential of current and emerging technologies and reduce the impact of fossil; fuel dependence on energy security and the environment. The key challenge in global energy policy is to create an energy system that supports continuing economic development and considerably reduces the risks of climate change. Energy efficiency is currently the most affordable tool to mitigate climate change.

• The fourth assessment report of the IPCC documents many of the large number of energy efficiency policies and measures that have already been implemented worldwide on the supply and demand side.

The accelerated technology scenarios (ACTs ) that form the backbone of energy technology perspectives demonstrate that by employing technologies that already exist or are under development, the world could be brought onto a much more sustainable energy path.

The scenarios show how energy related CO2 emissions can be returned to their current levels by 2050 and the growth of oil demand can be moderated. It also shows that by 2050, energy efficiency measures can reduce electricity demand by a third below the baseline levels. Savings from liquid fuels would equal more than half of today's global oil consumption, after setting about 56% of growth in oil demand foreseen in the baseline scenario. The substantial changes demonstrated in the accelerated technology (ACT) scenarios are grouped in:

• Strong energy efficiency gains in the transport, industry, commercial and domestic sectors,

• Electricity supply becoming significantly decarbonised as the power generation mix shifts towards nuclear power, renewables, natural gas and coal with CO2 capture and storage,

• Increased use of biofuels for road transport.

(*) Dr Jagdish P N Giri is the founder and ED of Aaditya Energy Foundation, Chennai. He can be reached at


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