Swiss researchers propose energy strategy to combat climate change

February 26th, 2008 - 3:20 pm ICT by admin  

London, Feb 26 (IANS) Swiss researchers have prepared a roadmap to cut down carbon emission to one tonne per head per year and combat climate change effectively. Researchers from ETH Zurich said the way to reach this goal is through an energy strategy based on the three Es: increased efficiency, renewable energy and electrification.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned last year that for achieving stable climate by the end of the century, increase in carbon dioxide emissions must be curbed.

The maximum emissions that can be tolerated globally by the century end amounts roughly to 2,000 gigatonnes. This will mean a considerable reduction in the emission of carbon dioxide per capita, according to the IPCC.

The per capita emission in Switzerland is currently nine tonnes per year, or twice the global average. “Our objective has to be to induce each member of the human race to produce not more than 1 tonne of carbon dioxide per year,” Ralph Eichler, President ETH Zurich, explained.

Konstantinos Boulouchos said the proposed strategy is based on three pillars: Exhaustion of efficiency potential, extended use of renewable energy sources and increased share of electricity in the energy mix.

The first implies increasing efficiency in every link of the energy conversion chain, from extraction at the source, through storage and distribution up to energy usage. This alone would ensure great savings, especially when combined with market-based instruments to influence the demand side.

The second E focuses on the use of renewable energy sources, such as photovoltaics, water and wind. Economic as well as ecological aspects must be taken into consideration when using renewable energy sources.

Lastly, electrification is the backbone of the energy system. According to ETH researchers, in future carbonless electricity will establish itself as the backbone of a sustainable energy system.

It is increasingly being used in heating and cooling buildings (with heat pumps, for example), and is expected to extend to individual mobility (moving, in the long run, from hybrid vehicles to fully electric cars).

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