By Thomas Fröhlich
Brazil is the world leader in the use of biofuels in transport, and can look back at a successful history of introducing and expanding the use of ethanol in particular as an alternative transport fuel to substitute petroleum imports.
After the introduction of the government’s “Pró-Álcool” programme in 1975, Brazil was able to transform its light vehicle fleet to be almost completely ethanol-fuelled by the late 1980s, thereby substituting about 7bn barrels of petrol imports.
Due to high sugar prices, a phase-out of government support and the opening of the economy in the 1990s, Brazilians increasingly opted to buy foreign cars that we
re petrol-fuelled, resulting in a decrease of ethanol-fuelled cars and thereby ethanol consumption.
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By Pablo David Necoechea Porras
The world’s carbon emissions are beginning to be addressed to fulfil the
promise of the Paris climate change agreement. Keeping global temperature increase
to below 2°C will need global net greenhouse gas emissions to decrease dramatically. Nowadays, the world’s energy system is heavily based on fossil fuels: coal and oil account for about 30% each of total energy supply, and gas for another 20% or so. Low- or zero-
carbon energy sources together account for the remaining 20% . However, it is possible to take the carbon out of the world economy over the next years and do so with increased economic wealth in all countries. Decarbonisation has an economic value added. Economies urge to decrease pollution and to be less materially intensive to have sustainable growth realizing that the low-carbon transition could generate economic growth.
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By Benjamin Abbs
It is estimated by 2030 there will be a 40% shortfall in the global water supply. Clearly this presents a major resource supply challenge, but of equal significance is the ability of local water tensions to quickly mushroom to have national, regional, and global political consequences.
While the quantity of fresh water in the world is not decreasing, population and economic growth is massively fuelling demand whilst global warming is increasingly affecting water distribution. In the past century, the world population has tripled, water use has increased six fold, and it is predicted that supplying a planet of 9 billion (population projection for 2050) would require at least 50% more water than we use today. Economic growth further increases the strain on water resources through pollution caused by industrial growth and improving living standards which encourage more water-demanding lifestyles and diets (the average hamburger takes 2400 litres of water to produce).
By Daniel Scholten
The geographic and technical characteristics of renewable energy systems are fundamentally different from those of coal, oil and natural gas. Renewable energy sources are abundant and intermittent; renewable energy production lends itself more to decentral
generation and involves rare earth materials in clean-tech equipment; their distribution, finally, is generally electric in nature and involves stringent managerial conditions. These stand in clear contrast to the geographically fixed and finite nature of fossil fuel resources, their general reliance on large centralized production and processing installations, and their ease of storage and transportation as solids, liquids, or gases around the globe.