Some environmental problems can be resolved by relatively straightforward technical changes and adjustments - by what are sometimes called technical fixes. This chapter looks at some examples of attempts to make 'green products' available to domestic consumers, with energy saving being one of the aims. It also looks at technical fixes in the energy generation field and in transport. But as this chapter argues, while some technical fixes may be helpful as a way of reducing energy use and pollution, on its own the technical fix approach may not be sufficient to ensure environmental sustainability. More radical approaches may be needed, especially in relation to energy generation.
As has been indicated, energy provisions are central to industrial and economic activity - and they are probably the key technologies in terms of environmental impact. The use of energy is determined by activities in sectors other than energy generation, for example, transport, farming, housing, production and so on. Many of the problems with the technologies in these sectors are related to their direct energy use (e.g. emissions from cars), or their indirect use of energy (e.g. pollution from the extraction and processing of raw material used for manufacturing consumer appliances).