The world will need almost 60 percent more energy in 2030 than in 2002 to meet its demand. Energy use in Asia will increase 112 pecent by 2030.
China’s energy consumption is one of the fastest growing with an annual increase of 11.2 per cent, and it has surpassed the US as the world’s largest energy consumer.
Today, fossil fuels supply over 80 per cent of primary energy globally. But as we know they are finite resources that will be depleted in the near future. Most of Asia’s growth today is
fuelled by fossil energies such as coal, oil and gas. Import dependency and soaring prices of fossil fuels are threatening the emergent growth of Asia’s cities.
The building sector has been one of the booming industries in
Asian cities. More than 50 per cent of all new buildings constructed are in Asia. Developed countries spend most of their energy in maintaining existing buildings, but the developing countries spend more energy in construction and development.
Cities rarely produce food, and their supply of agricultural products normally comes from the rural hinterland and from the international market. This implies much energy use for transportation, as well as for cooling and storing of food.
The need to increase agricultural productivity could be significantly addressed if we were able to reduce production losses (e.g. from pests, diseases, storage, processing, etc.) and food waste arising from transportation and consumption.
Globally the agriculture sector accounts for around 70 per cent of water used depending on the income level of the nation.
Developing countries use a higher proportion of water on agriculture than the industrialized nations. Also, in North America and Europe, agriculture is predominantly rain fed and does not require much irrigation unlike in Asia.
The challenges for achieving sustainable urban energy systems are: energy sufficiency, energy conservation, energy efficiency and the deployment of renewable energy systems and appropriate technologies.
Developing green cities and green economies will need supportive policies, capacity building, knowledge transfer, financial support mechanisms, market stimulation and sensitizing the population, both at the national and the local level.
“The world will not evolve past its current state of crisis by using the same thinking that created the situation.”
– Albert Einstein
Sustainable urban agriculture is a useful tool that will help in addressing cities’ problems in an innovative way. Cities will get greener, air quality will improve, and energy requirements will be reduced as food does not need to be transported over long distances, refrigerated and packed.
Solid waste can be turned into valuable compost, and grey water can be reused for agricultural With the steep rise in the price of food on global markets already leading to riots and starvation, the need for fundamental change is tragically underscored. (UNEP)
We have explored how existing technologies can be used to make cities more sustainable. At the same time new technologies are emerging that promise a decisive shift towards a more sustainable future.
New technologies can bring a sustainable future only if the right policy environment supports them. One could even name awareness and lifestyle change as the single-most promising technology for a sustainable urban future.
New technology innovations can help in bringing about changes for the better in certain ways:
1. Efficiency in existing systems as in buildings, electric appliances, vehicles, and production processes.
2. Emerging technologies offer technological alternatives to processes that consume fossil fuels.
Governments in developing countries have traditionally been seen as “bottlenecks” to emerging technologies.
If the gap between technology and effective policy making could be bridged by mutual effort, cities would much benefit. This gap could be bridged by more than one way:
Governments should also motivate collaboration between local players and international partners who will enable local companies to strengthen their knowledge, expertise and market reach.