NEWS

Cleanest energy is that saved

By Tasoula Karaiskaki

Oil is still the prime energy source worldwide, accounting for 35.5 percent of all the energy produced. Coal comes next with around 28 percent, followed by natural gas (23 percent), nuclear power (6 percent), hydroelectric power (6 percent), wind and solar power (1 percent), and biomass (0.4 percent). Renewable energy sources come far behind the rest. Even if Europe reaches its goal (of meeting 12.5 percent of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2010), given the global rise of 15.1 percent in the use of fossil fuels, we will not attain a promising balance anytime soon (by 2030, oil consumption is expected to increase by 58 percent and use of coal 250 percent) because of China, where a new power station opens every week. Greece releases more than 40 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year, using energy that comes primarily from oil (57 percent) and lignite (29 percent). Rapid climate change is forcing even governments to acknowledge that renewable energy sources are the only solution, and that it is essential to save energy. Make no mistake: The cleanest energy is that which we do not use. In homes, 70 percent of the energy used goes on heating. By installing a thermostat and good insulation we can save up to 600 euros a year, But there is huge waste on other things. Appliances on standby cost us a total of 45 million euros a year, while releasing more than 600,000 tons of carbon dioxide into the air. A single television set on standby uses 64 kilowatt-hours a year and light bulbs millions more. Australia has mandated the replacement by 2010 of all incandescent bulbs by ones that require only 20 percent of the power. Britain has introduced similar legislation. Why can't Greece with its brightly lit villas do the same?

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