The need for change

In view of the threats poised over our economy and our planet, due to excessive consumption of fossil fuels, a transition to a new energy system is essential.

Such transitions have already taken place in the past, when coal replaced wind and waterpower, and then when oil took over from coal with the advent of the automotive and aviation era.

Now, however, we are faced with a quite different situation. The previous transitions were the result of technological progress, which progressively modified the economic system, without this transformation having been anticipated.

In contrast, the energy transition we are now facing is imposed upon us, but there are no obvious substitution options.

Its implementation is made difficult, however, due to the very high level of worldwide energy demand and the magnitude of the threats to the environment. For a number of economic and technical reasons which will be explained below, the fossil energies cannot be replaced rapidly and massively by alternative energies (renewable, nuclear).

Although the energy transition promises to be long and difficult, it must be undertaken without delay. Solutions specifically adapted to this transition period will have to be proposed.

Energy and Climate: How to achieve a successful energy transition Alexandre Rojey © 2009 Society of Chemical Industry ISBN: 978-0-470-74427-7

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