Attitudes to Renewables

Why Renewables?

It is estimated that from 2013 to 2035 the global demand for energy will increase by 37%, driven mainly by population growth and rising living standards in emerging economies.

While technological solutions to increasing energy supply are possible, if fossil fuels continue to dominate the energy mix, the consequence will be catastrophic climate change.

Different stakeholders have contrasting views on what our “energy future” holds, ranging from “business as usual” approach to more “sustainable” approaches.

Environmental Concerns

Greater research and awareness of the impact of fossil fuels are having on the world’s environments, particularly on climate change, has led to world wide demand for a rapid shift to sustainable energyproduction and use.


Improving people’s awareness of the need for more organisations energy is an important goal for international sustainable like the UN, governments and organisations like energy (infinity propped up). Schools and young people have a key role in preparing for a more sustainable energy future.

Rising Affluence

Although rising incomes increase energy demand, they can also encourage alternative sources because more people support the investment needed for clean and sustainable energy.

Who Cares?

Attitudes to Renewables, figure 1

Who’s Responsible


  • Domestic heating contributes 15% to the individual carbon footprint. Heat lost through walls, windows and roofs, so improved insulation in the loft and walls reduces energy consumption.
  • Powering homes contributed 12%. Electricity for most homes comes from fossil fuel power stations. Individuals can reduce their carbon footprints by turning off appliances not in use, or even installing solar panels on their roofs.
  • Private transport contributes 10%. Individuals can reduce their car use by using public transport, walking or riding a bike, or car-sharing with others.


  • In recent years large organisations have applied a different approach to their business operations by adopting sustainable practices e.g. McDonald’s and Google.
  • However, because energy from fossil fuels is often cheaper than renewable energy, many other organisations are not inclined to add extra costs by using renewables.
  • Many environmental organisations want change to be much more significant. For example NGOs like Greenpeace have strong views on energy futures, arguing for a more sustainable approach to our extraction and consumption of resources.


In December 2015, the UK was one of the 195 nations at the United Nations climate change summit in Paris that pledged to limit the global temperature increase to below 2ºC.

For the UK this involves:

  • Setting Carbon Budgets to limit the amount of Greenhouse gases the UK is allowed to emit.
  • Investing in low-carbon energy technologies and boosting the share of renewables in the UK’s energy mix so that, by 2050, the UK produces 80% less carbon than it did in 1990.
  • Helping to reduce the demand for energy with smart meters and other energy-efficient measures for industry, businesses and individuals.
  • Public reporting of carbon emissions to allow people to assess their impact on climate change.
What reasons are there for moving to renewable energy?
Your answer should include: Population / Technology / Living / Standards / Affluence