Skip to main content

Energy, Environment and Climate Change





Energy, Environment and Climate Change

R. K. Pachauri

ISBN: 978-1-119-37028-4 December 2019 American Geophysical Union 272 Pages



A novel textbook that answers the growing need for understanding how energy supply and consumption are linked with human welfare as well as economic growth and development. Since the beginning of time, human society has evolved through the use of various forms of energy including the burning of wood once our ancestors learned how to light a fire and then to the modern age when fossil fuels, nuclear and renewable sources of energy have become part of the world’s energy picture. What makes the subject of energy even more important are the environmental impacts of energy production and use, and now that the science of climate change has shown us the link between increase of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere and climate change, energy decisions need to respond to the global imperative of dealing with the challenge of climate change. The text also covers the historical evolution of energy production and use and the market as well as non-market forces which have brought about change over time. Special emphasis has been provided on changes in energy supply and expectations for the future, including solutions to the problem of energy poverty and lack of access to modern forms of energy for a large section of the human population. Following this is a detailed presentation of what human society and economic growth are doing to the earth’s environment in respect of land and soil, forests and biodiversity, all the bodies of water across the globe and the air that we breathe. The book also presents regulatory and other institutional structures by which the global commons and environmental quality are addressed effectively. Both quantitative and qualitative aspects of environmental damage and degradation are covered in depth.

The third part of the textbook deals with the science of climate change and how human society has been responsible for changing the earth’s climate, and what can be projected unless we deal with this challenge effectively. Some of the growing impacts of climate change are discussed in detail followed by solutions and the reduction of risks to human society and all living species through a set of adaptation and mitigation measures.

Chapter 1          -           Energy use by human society in early stages of evolution

1.1   Discovery of fire and impact on human society

1.2   Locomotion and mobility – Animal power, beasts of burden, mobility on water

1.3   Agriculture and animal power

1.4   Exosomatic limbs

1.5   Early use of wind and hydro energy

Chapter 2          -           Energy and industrialization      

2.1  James Watt

2.2  Increased role of energy in the industrial age

2.3  The internal combustion engine

2.4  Evolution of energy for transport

2.5  Evolution of space conditioning and energy for appliances

Chapter 3          -           Modern energy systems

3.1 Sources of energy supply – firewood, coal, oil, natural gas, charcoal, solar, wind, biomass, hydro, geothermal, ocean energy, nuclear

3.2 Demand for modern forms of energy – household, industry, transport, commercial

- Determinants of demand

3.3 Regulation of energy supply

3.4 R&D issues

3.5 Energy efficiency

Chapter 4          -           Energy, equity and development

4.1 The problem of energy poverty and lack of access

4.2 The energy scenario in developing societies and future options

Chapter 5          -           Natural resources and environmental quality

5.1  Land and soil

5.2   Forests and biodiversity

5.3   Rivers, lakes and ponds

5.4    Air

Chapter 6          -           Environmental policy and ecological economics

6.1 Economics of environmental damage – spaceship economy, Boulding, Rachel Carson, Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen, Herman Daly, Evolution of ecological economics

6.2  Global commons

6.3  Garrett Hardin

6.4   Polluter pays principle

6.5   Property rights

6.6   Evolution of environmental legislation

6.7   Institutional structures

6.8    Knowledge, awareness and advocacy

Chapter 7          -           Climate Change

7.1   Evolution of scientific knowledge, contribution of Arrhenius and other scientists

7.2   Concerns and their basis during the 20th century

7.3   Establishment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

7.4   Observed changes in climate and their causes

7.5   Impacts of climate change

7.6   Extreme events

7.7   Key drivers of future climate

7.8  Projected changes in the climate system

Chapter 8          ­-           Climate change projections and risk management

8.1   Future risks and impacts caused by changing climate

8.2   Climate change beyond 2100, irreversible and abrupt changes

8.3   Adaptation to the impacts of climate change

8.4   Characteristics of adaptation pathways

8.5   Mitigation of emissions of greenhouse gases

8.6   Characteristics of mitigation pathways

8.7   The complementarity of adaptation and mitigation

8.8   Policy approaches for adaptation and mitigation, technology and finance

8.9  Climate change and its nexus with sustainable development

8.10  Reducing the risks from climate change and realizing co-benefits

Chapter 9          -           Technologies, institutions, ethics and changes in lifestyle and behavior

Chapter 10        -           Integrating analysis and policy responses related to energy, environment and climate change