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One  major point Vaclav Smil made was that, “Each major energy source that  has dominated world supply has taken 50-60 years to rise to the top  spot” (Smil, p55 2014). With that being said, it would only make sense  to project the next major energy source to take around the same time  which would be a fair assessment to make. In the Army, we used a system  called backwards planning sometimes to plan for events scheduled on the  calendar for long term. I believe that should be the case with the  energy dilemma as well. If policy makers take into account the history  then perhaps they could come up with plans and policies that reflect  what is known to be likely to happen. He also points out that, “The most  important way to speed up the gradual transition to renewables is to  lower overall energy use through efficiency gains. The faster global  demand rises, the more difficult it is to supply a large fraction of it”  (2014, p56). If policy makers are able to account for the growing  demand of energy against the realistic renewable energy equivalency  while simultaneously lowering the overall energy usage then we have a  chance to displace the conventional fossil fuels complex. According to  Mike Bradshaw, “As living standards increase so does demand for white  goods, vehicles, and all the other trappings of consumer society.  Therefore, for this group of countries, the key imperative is securing  sufficient energy to continue to fuel economic growth and the  improvement of living standards” (Bradshaw, 2013 p.185). One of the key  policy prescriptions identified by Bradshaw is with the high-income  countries; they need to provide financing and low-carbon technologies to  developing countries. That is important because those developing  countries won’t rely on fossil fuel imports which would be a trickling  effect. The countries that are major exporters of fossil fuels will be  affected and thus have no choice but to rely on the renewable energy  alternatives. In turn, they will focus their energy on the need for  renewables changing their economy and so forth.

Since the transportation sector is one of the leading contributors to  GHG emissions, electric vehicles seem like an obvious alternative as  part of the decarbonization initiative. Electric vehicles reduce overall  energy consumption and emissions in the long run. Studies show that  manufacturing of electric vehicles produces more emissions but in the  use phase it makes up for this by its ability to travel farther with a  given amount of energy. More specifically, “An average electric vehicle  in Europe produces 50% less life-cycle greenhouse gases over the first  150,000 kilometers of driving, although the relative benefit varies from  28% to 72%, depending on local electricity production.4An electric  car’s higher manufacturing-phase emissions would be paid back in 2 years  of driving with European average grid electricity compared to a typical  vehicle” (Hall & Lutsey, 2018). Due to the lowered carbon emissions  of electric vehicles in the long run, they are definitely a realistic  alternative to conventional gasoline-powered vehicles. Furthermore, in  order to lower the carbon emissions while also meeting the demands of  energy needs, electric vehicles being apart of the transportation sector  (one of the largest carbon emitters) would satisfy a goal of lowering  individual carbon footprints.

References:

Bradshaw, M.J. (2014). Global energy dilemmas: Energy security,  globalization, and climate change. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, pp.  181–193.

Green Car Congress. (2013, August 6). Exploring the adoption of EVs  in the US, Europe and China; charging scenarios and infrastructure.  Retrieved from  https://www.greencarcongress.com/2013/08/icct-20130806.html#more.

Hall, D., Lutsey, N. (2018, February). Effects of battery  manufacturing on electric vehicle life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions.  Retrieved from  https://theicct.org/sites/default/files/publications/EV-life-cycle-GHG_ICCT-Briefing_09022018_vF.pdf.

Smil, V. (2014). The long slow rise of wind and solarPreview the  document [PDF, File Size 493KB]. Scientific American, 310(1), pp. 52–57.

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