To help you get to grips with some of the issues discussed in this book, here are some general questions which you might like to explore. Some pointers are included after each, but these are open-ended questions, designed to get you thinking about the wider issues in more detail. You may find that you will want to follow up some of the further readings mentioned at the end of each chapter.
1 Is it really necessary to make major changes in the way in which energy is generated and used, or can minor adjustments suffice?
There is a range of technical fixes on the energy use side, but it seems likely that the use of fossil fuels will be environmentally unsustainable and certainly in the longer term there will be a need for new energy sources, even if energy conservation is taken seriously. (Chapters 1, 2, and 4 provide some of the key arguments.)
2 What are the technical options for sustainable energy supply technologies?
Although not strictly sustainable in the longer term, nuclear power is seen by some as a possible candidate for non-fossil energy supply. But there remain problems with nuclear fission, including the waste storage issue, and fusion looks like a long shot, with its own problems. By contrast, the renewable energy sources look promising although they too have problems. (Chapter 3 sets out the basic criteria, Chapter 5 looks at nuclear power, Chapters 6 and 7 at renewables.)
3 Can new sustainable energy technologies replace the existing range of energy technologies?
Technically it seems credible for renewable energy, coupled with conservation, to meet human needs into the far future, if these options