Markets missing fossil fuel exposure to climate risk: analysis

Investors are overlooking the long-term risks climate change poses to oil and gas infrastructure firms, which face tens of billion of dollars worth of stranded assets as the world transitions to greener energy, according ...

Using 60% less water in paper production

An EPFL researcher has developed a mathematical model for optimizing heat transfer in factories and dramatically reducing water and energy consumption. The model could, in theory, cut water use by 60 percent at a Canadian ...

Squid skin inspires creation of next-generation space blanket

Drawing design inspiration from the skin of stealthy sea creatures, engineers at the University of California, Irvine have developed a next-generation, adaptive space blanket that gives users the ability to control their ...

Keeping nuclear power safe

Nuclear energy is clean, powerful, affordable, and zero-emission. A new study uses the Canadian Light Source (CLS) at the University of Saskatchewan to help ensure that waste from nuclear power plants remains safe and secure ...

Shrinking the carbon footprint of a chemical in everyday objects

The biggest source of global energy consumption is the industrial manufacturing of products such as plastics, iron, and steel. Not only does manufacturing these materials require huge amounts of energy, but many of the reactions ...

Renewable technology prices and decarbonization

The great advantage of fossil fuels over renewable energy is that the sun doesn't always shine and the wind doesn't always blow and these "intermittent" sources of energy may not be reliable enough to power our economy. This ...

Global landmarks go dark for Earth Hour

The UN headquarters in New York, the pyramids of Egypt and Rio's Christ the Redeemer statue were among top world monuments plunged into darkness for an hour Saturday to put the spotlight on climate change and its impact on ...

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World energy resources and consumption

In 2005, total worldwide energy consumption was 500 Exajoules (= 5 x 1020 J) with 80-90% derived from the combustion of fossil fuels. This is equivalent to an average energy consumption rate of 16 TW (= 1.585 x 1013 W). Not all of the world's economies track their energy consumption with the same rigor, and the exact energy content of a barrel of oil or a ton of coal will vary with quality.

Most of the world's energy resources are from the sun's rays hitting earth - some of that energy has been preserved as fossil energy, some is directly or indirectly usable e.g. via wind, hydro or wave power. The term solar constant is the amount of incoming solar electromagnetic radiation per unit area, measured on the outer surface of Earth's atmosphere, in a plane perpendicular to the rays. The solar constant includes all types of solar radiation, not just visible light. It is measured by satellite to be roughly 1366 watts per square meter, though it fluctuates by about 6.9% during a year - from 1412 W/m2 in early January to 1321 W/m2 in early July, due to the Earth's varying distance from the sun, and by a few parts per thousand from day to day. For the whole Earth, with a cross section of 127,400,000 km², the total energy rate is 1.740×1017 W, plus or minus 3.5%. This 174 PW is the total rate of solar energy received by the planet; about half, 89 PW, reaches the Earth's surface.

The estimates of remaining worldwide energy resources vary, with the remaining fossil fuels totaling an estimated 0.4 YJ (1 YJ = 1024J) and the available nuclear fuel such as uranium exceeding 2.5 YJ. Fossil fuels range from 0.6-3 YJ if estimates of reserves of methane clathrates are accurate and become technically extractable. Mostly thanks to the Sun, the world also has a renewable usable energy flux that exceeds 120 PW (8,000 times 2004 total usage), or 3.8 YJ/yr, dwarfing all non-renewable resources.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA