Ethical Dimensions of Renewable Energy and Sustainability Systems

Part 1 - Energy and Climate


Part 1 - Energy and Climate

The links between energy use and the global warming of the atmosphere are significant. In 2011, the global total output of CO2 from energy production was 32,579,000,000 metric tons (32.6 Gigatons) or 71,824,400,397,211 pounds. That is just for one year, for energy consumption alone.

First, read Chapter 1 of the IPCC report on Renewable Energy (RE) and climate change.

This is a rather complex document with a significant amount of data and figures, and it is sometimes easy to lose the thread of the argument. This document expects you to already know something about how climate change works. For a quick background on how the greenhouse effect works, please have a look at HyperPhysics and University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR).

Pay attention to

In Chapter 1 of the IPCC RE Report:

  • How is energy consumption linked to drivers of CO2 output?
  • How is renewable energy linked to CO2 output?
  • What kind of renewables should be implemented?
  • When should they be implemented?

Potential ethical questions for consideration

  1. Describe the reasoning behind the urgency to move to renewable energies by a certain deadline.
  2. What is a per capita emissions output? What does it mean to have a high per capita emissions versus a medium or low per capita?