Global Energy Demand
The global demand for energy has been accelerated by the increasing dependence of it in the modern world. However, consumption and demand growth could have dangerous consequences for the world’s climate. It is estimated that demand for energy grew by 2.1% in 2017 as fossil fuels are still the nation’s leading form of energy.1 Coal and petroleum, for example, two of the world’s biggest energy producers, emit more carbon dioxide than other fossil fuels leading to drastic changes in our environment.
That being said, given that high energy demand is driven by high economic growth, it is becoming challenging to meet the demands of an increasingly wealthy and healthy global population without neglecting the world’s most vulnerable. Renewable energy has become a key determinant to solve the problems of high energy demand in the future, and according to research from the US Energy Information Administration, “renewables are the world’s fastest growing energy source, with consumption increasing by an average 2.3%/year between 2015 and 2040”.2 Despite the rapid growth of non-fossil fuel consumption, however, changing the world’s energy systems is not simple due to the fact that the industrial revolution, coal, gas, and oil have provided most of the primary fuel driving development of modern economies.3
Reliance on energy – referring to both fossil fuels and non-fossil fuels – is correlated to country GDP or economic growth. Therefore, Asia, Latin America, and parts of Africa will be influential regions, and the role of China and India will be especially crucial as the growth of their middle- class necessitates a demand for higher energy consumption (i.e. air conditioning.) The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change asseses that by 2040, the World’s Energy Consumption will have increased by almost 50%. 4 Accordingly, the possibility of renewable energy as an alternative in meeting the increasing demands from population and economic growth remains a contentious issue worldwide.
LET’S THINK ABOUT IT
Your SWAC leader will prompt you with questions concerning this idea:
Increase in energy demand can be considered as indicative of a successful human society as it proves that we live wealthier, healthier lives. On the other hand, what will be the negative consequences of this phenomenon? Express your thoughts and contribute to discussion with your fellow peers!
MY THOUGHTS ON GLOBAL ENERGY DEMAND
(room to write your thoughts)
This lesson plan is meant as an aid for the Faculty Sponsor, President or Vice-President to lead their respective SWAC chapter in the discussion of this month’s focus: Global Energy Demand.
Kahoot! Introductory Quiz
Kahoot! is an online Quiz platform. This small ten-question quiz is to test the student’s prior knowledge of Global Energy Demand and introduce them to the discussion to come. The quiz does not require the proctor to have a Kahoot account in order to start. Students will use an electronic device in order to answer. The link is below; click START NOW and select Classic mode. After the Game PIN is generated, students will be able to join the session by accessing kahoot.it on their computer or mobile device. Begin the quiz once all students have joined! This activity shouldn’t take more thank 15 minutes.
Now is when the handouts should be passed out to students. It is split into two sections – one which covers the concept of sustainable development and a second which addresses international environmental cooperation relating to energy demand. It is recommended that the handout be read aloud as a group instead of individually. Take some time after the document has been read to cover the material with the students and make sure that it’s been generally understood. Ask questions to students; get them to summarize what they’ve read and make sure that the students are engaged and understanding. The reading shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes.
We have two video resources below that will go over the current event portion of the handout and expand upon it. Following each link we’ve included a description of the video and possible questions that you can ask students to see what they’ve taken away from watching the clips. Each video clip is between 4 and 7 minutes; coupled with questions this segment should take no more than 15 minutes.
- Can 100% renewable energy power the world?”
Instead of relying on electricity and liquid fuels, human technology is already developed enough to produce renewable energy power. Although there are still many technological limitations that we need to work through, are there any possible solutions that can be applied to our daily lives to help balance the increasing demand for energy?
- China biggest investor in renewables but coal consumption rose in 2017
This video presents the limitations of producing renewables even in one of the biggest investor countries – China. Do you agree that renewable energy is not cost effective? Or do you think renewable technologies are scalable and any perceived problems can be overcome?
- According to World Wide Fund (WWF), the whole world could get all the power it needs from renewable resources by 2050, but only if the right political, financial, and societal decisions are made.5 What kind of specific decisions do you think should be made first?
- The 17 goals of Sustainable Development not only focus to the energy sector, but also cover broad social issues such as human rights and gender In what ways can the energy sector be closely linked with social inequality?
- Share your opinions about international environmental cooperation. Do you think it is still achievable without any specific enforcement mechanisms?
- 17 Goals to Transform Our World, Sustainable Development Goals, United Nations, https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/
- “20 fascinating renewable energy facts”, OVO Energy, February 28, 2018, https://www.ovoenergy.com/blog/green/20-fascinating-renewable-energy-facts.html
- “Can 100% renewable energy power the world?”, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RnvCbquYeIM
- “Canada to pull out of Kyoto protocol”, Financial Post, December 13, 2011,https://business.financialpost.com/uncategorized/canada-to-pull-out-of-kyoto-protocol
- China biggest investor in renewables but coal consumption rose in 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxgSlTwvSjQ
- “Fossil Fuels will still dominate energy in 20 years despite green power rising”, World Economic Forum, 16 Oct 2017, https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/10/fossil-fuels-will-dominate-energy-in-2040/
- “Global energy demand grew by 2.1% in 2017, and carbon emissions rose for the first time since 2014”, International Energy Agency, 22 March 2018, https://www.iea.org/newsroom/news/2018/march/global- energy-demand-grew-by-21-in-2017-and-carbon-emissions-rose-for-the-firs.html
- Policy Challenges and Opportunities for Renewable Energy, Stanford Law School, November 1, 2015, https://law.stanford.edu/2015/11/01/policy-challenges-opportunities-renewable-energy/
- “The biggest energy challenges facing humanity”, Richard Gray, BBC, March 13 2017, http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20170313-the-biggest-energy-challenges-facing-humanity
- “The real fight against emissions is being waged by markets”, Nicolas Firzli, Financial News, January 22, 2016, https://www.fnlondon.com/articles/un-climate-conference-cop21-laurent-fabius-carbon- emissions-calpers-calstrs-20160125
- “What is International Environmental Cooperation?”, International Environmental Cooperation toward Sustainable Development, https://www.env.go.jp/earth/coop/coop/english/environmental/what.html