Elizabeth J. Wilson; Elias Grove Nielsen

Published On


Page Range

pp. 59-66

Print Length

7 pages


  • Elizabeth J. Wilson (author)
  • Elias Grove Nielsen (author)
Modern energy has transformed how humans move, eat, live and play, while also radically altering our impact on Planet Earth. As the climate tipping point looms, energy dependence continues to grow, and energy system decarbonization is more critical than ever. While there has been significant progress on the transition to renewable energy sources, 80% of energy consumed still comes from fossil fuels. A major factor here is the imbalance of energy wealth: the energy rich, who have the luxury of not having to think about energy, are declining in their energy use and call for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, while the energy poor, the 1.1 billion people who live without access to electricity, have a meagre energy use which does not contribute to global climate change. It is in the energy middle – the 4.4. billion citizens across the globe with access to energy, but with varying degrees of reliability and affordability – where greenhouse gas emissions are growing most rapidly. Real change will only occur with coordinated global action, implementing a systematic change in how we use energy. As we build our energy systems to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we must also adapt them to the realities of climate change. Humanity now faces the daunting challenge of creating energy systems that can both mitigate and adapt to changing climates across countries with different economic realities. The energy rich, the energy poor, and those in-between have different needs, risks, and responsibilities, but we all face a common threat in climate change.


Elizabeth J. Wilson


Elias Grove Nielsen