The World of Perceptions Versus the World of Data: Notes Towards Safe-Failing the Energy Equation

  • B. L. B. Wiman
Conference paper


Combinations of efficient use of energy (EUE) and renewable energy sources (RES) can contribute to finding solutions (S) to problems of large-scale environmental change. Therefore, developing technological existence proofs of solutions to the “energy equation”, EUE+RES →S, is important. However, for solutions to be viable a wide range of non-technical issues has to be addressed, such as perceptions of the modus operandi of natural systems, risk-philosophy aspects, cultural acceptability of large-scale ecological engineering, and obstacles in the process of linking science with policy. In particular, awareness and management of the above facets and tensions will grow increasingly important as interest in harnessing qualities of natural systems expands. This paper briefly explores and exemplifies some of these aspects, in certain cases drawing on challenges and opportunities facing environmental and energy systems in Sweden.


Global Warming Energy System Renewable Energy Source Greenhouse Effect Elephant Grass 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    Cf.,e.g., the Brundtland Report statement “Those looking for success and signs of hope can find many: Infant mortality is falling; human life expextancy is increasing; But the same processes that have produced these gains have given rise to trends that the planet can no longer bear.” (The World Commission on Environment and Development (1987) Our Common Future, Oxford University Press, Oxford.) Earlier energy demand scenarios for the year 2020, published in the early 1980s, have been countered by other energy analysts with statements such as: “Meeting the global demand levels projected in the IIASA [International Istitute of Applied Systems Analysis] and WEC [World Energy Conference] studies would require monumental effects to expand energy supplies” cf. Goldemberg J., Johansson T.B., Reddy A. K.N. and Williams R.H. (1987) [Energy for a Sustainable World, World Resources Institute, Washington], who also detail some of “hidden costs of conventional energy”, such as global insecurity, Middle-East Oil supplies in times of crisis, global climatic change and fossil fuel use, linkages between nuclear weapons proliferation and nuclear power. As for the ongoing debate related to whether or not there is consensus with respect to scientific issues in the work in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (cf. IPCC Policymakers Summary of the Scientific Assessment of Climate Change, Report Prepared for IPCC by Working Group I, June 1990)Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. L. B. Wiman
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Environmental and Energy Systems Studies, Institute of TechnologyLund UniversityLundSweden

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