Next Article in Journal
Community Vitality: The Role of Community-Level Resilience Adaptation and Innovation in Sustainable Development
Next Article in Special Issue
Is Globalisation Sustainable?
Previous Article in Journal
Local Selling Decisions and the Technical Efficiency of Organic Farms
Previous Article in Special Issue
Structured Mental Model Approach for Analyzing Perception of Risks to Rural Livelihood in Developing Countries
Sustainability 2010, 2(1), 204-214; doi:10.3390/su2010204

On the Feasibility of a Timely Transition to a More Sustainable Energy Future

Department of Physics, Brooklyn College of CUNY, Brooklyn, NY 11210, USA
Received: 10 November 2009 / Accepted: 5 January 2010 / Published: 11 January 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Forum for Sustainable Development)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [372 KB, uploaded 24 February 2015]   |   Browse Figures


The paper uses the framework of the IPAT equation, as applied to CO2 emission, to decompose the various driving forces in the global energy use. Data from recent history are superimposed on projections of SRES IPCC scenarios to determine if enough sustainable capacity can be built to prevent irreversible ecological deterioration. The conclusion from the analysis is that, in agreement with the IPCC 4th report, until about 2030 there are no large differences between a sustainable scenario and the one that resembles “business as usual”. The sharp divergence that follows stems from different estimates in population growth and in the percentage of use of fossil fuels in the total energy mix. Decomposition of alternative energy options indicate that the rate of increase of alternatives such as hydroelectric and nuclear start with a relatively high base but a growth rate too short for major contribution to a timely replacement of fossil fuels while wind and solar starts from a much lower base but rate of growth, if maintained, that can satisfy a timely replacement.
Keywords: IPAT; greenhouse gases; energy; projections IPAT; greenhouse gases; energy; projections
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Share & Cite This Article

Further Mendeley | CiteULike
Export to BibTeX |
EndNote |
MDPI and ACS Style

Tomkiewicz, M. On the Feasibility of a Timely Transition to a More Sustainable Energy Future. Sustainability 2010, 2, 204-214.

View more citation formats

Related Articles

Article Metrics

For more information on the journal, click here


[Return to top]
Sustainability EISSN 2071-1050 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert