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  • Naomi Stephens | Permaculture Designer

How is the world currently tackling energy over consumption - is it enough?

The main global authorities on energy reduction and consumption are the United Nations (UN), the World Bank, the International Energy Agency (IEA), and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The UN works to increase access to clean energy sources, while the World Bank provides financial support for renewable energy projects. The IEA helps to coordinate global energy policy and publishes comprehensive reports on the state of global energy production, consumption, and emissions. The IPCC is an international body of scientists that assesses climate change and its impacts.

We are globally addressing the energy overconsumption and use of fossil fuels through a variety of strategies, including

  • promoting renewable energy sources,

  • increasing energy efficiency,

  • expanding public transportation networks,

  • and implementing regulations to reduce emissions.

Renewable Energy Sources

Global authorities are promoting renewable energy sources by investing in research and development, providing incentives to businesses and individuals to produce and use renewable energy, updating regulations to support the growth of renewables, and expanding international cooperation. Several organizations have been leading the charge, such as the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), European Commission, and U.S. Department of Energy. Additionally, many countries have adopted their own policies or have created their own agencies to manage the transition to a low-carbon economy.

Increasing Energy Efficiency

The global authorities are increasing energy efficiency in a variety of ways, such as promoting renewable energy sources, investing in smart-grid technologies and energy storage, implementing energy efficiency standards for appliances and buildings, and encouraging the use of alternative transport methods. The main international organizations governing this are the United Nations (UN), International Energy Agency (IEA), International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), World Bank Group, and regional initiatives such as the European Union's Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy.

Regulations to Reduce Emissions

The main regulations that implement the reduction of emissions are the Clean Air Act, the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS), and vehicle emission standards. The Clean Air Act is a federal law created in 1970 to protect the public from exposure to pollutants that cause health problems, such as asthma and lung cancer. The NAAQS regulate six common air pollutants – ozone, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, lead, and particulate matter. Vehicle emission standards set limits on the amount of emissions allowed from new cars and trucks.

Efficency of regulations

The effectiveness of the main regulations that implement the reduction of emissions depends on a variety of factors, such as the type and size of the industry, the geographic location and environment, and the cost-effectiveness of technologies.

In some cases, regulations have proven to be very effective in reducing emissions; for example, regulations that control sulfur dioxide emissions from power plants have been highly successful in reducing these emissions by over 90%. However, other regulations may not be as effective at reducing emissions – this could be due to technological limitations or lack of enforcement. Overall, it is difficult to assess the effectiveness of these regulations without taking into account all these variables.

Examples of ineffective regulations due to the lack of enforcement include:

1. Vehicles continuing to operate with outdated emissions systems since there are not enough resources or manpower to regularly enforce emissions standards.

2. Companies failing to meet mandated emission reduction targets, since they cannot be heavily fined for non-compliance without enforcement.

3. Pollution being released into waterways and air due to lack of monitoring and enforcement, resulting in no consequences for those responsible.

4. Construction sites emitting large amounts of pollutants into the environment with no repercussions from authorities due to lack of enforcement efforts.

Recent global changes to the reduction in energy and switch to renewable resources

Some of the most recent changes to the way reduction in energy and switch to renewable resources that have been implemented or addressed by global authorities include the Paris Agreement, which was signed in 2015 and calls for nations to keep global temperatures from rising more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels.

The agreement also calls for nations to make efforts to limit global temperature increases even further, to 1.5°C. In addition, many countries are now investing in renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and geothermal. This is being done through subsidies, tax credits, and other incentives.

Furthermore, governments are introducing carbon taxes and emissions trading schemes that put a financial price on carbon dioxide emissions in order to encourage businesses to reduce their emissions.

The Paris Agreement of 2015 was signed by 195 countries during the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Each country had its own delegation, who are the signatories to the agreement. The list of signatories includes Algeria, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bolivia and many more.vThey represent 98% of global emissions, and all of the countries agreed to take measures to limit global warming.

Further recent changes to the way reduction in energy and switch to renewable resources that have been implemented or addressed by global authorities include:

  1. A number of countries have set ambitious targets for achieving 100% renewable energy by 2030 or 2050.

  2. Some cities are also setting ambitious goals, such as London and Amsterdam aiming for zero net carbon emissions by 2050.

  3. Many governments are offering financial incentives for individuals and businesses to invest in renewable energy sources like solar power and wind turbines.

  4. Several countries have implemented carbon taxes or cap-and-trade systems to reduce emissions from fossil fuels.

  5. Global initiatives such as the Renewable Energy Performance Platform (REPP) are helping countries transition away from fossil fuels towards more sustainable energy sources.

However, this is still not enough to completely address the climate crisis. To truly make an impact on reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and curbing overconsumption of energy, global leaders must take bolder actions such as implementing ambitious climate targets, investing in clean technologies and infrastructure, and encouraging public participation in sustainable initiatives.