The role of energy in our future is critical and will become increasingly urgent as world population increases and the global demand for energy turns ever upwards. Questions such as which energy sources to develop, how to store energy and how to manage the environmental impact of energy use will take center stage in our future. The distribution and cost of energy will have powerful political and economic consequences and must also be addressed. How the world deals with these questions will make a crucial difference to the future of the earth and its inhabitants. Careful consideration of our energy use today will have lasting effects for tomorrow. We intend that the World Scientific Series on Current Energy Issues will make a valuable contribution to this discussion.
The changes in the kind of energy resources used and the growth of energy use in countries with developing economies, will have enormous effects in the near future, both economically and politically, as greater numbers of people compete for limited energy resources at a viable price. A growing demand for energy will have an impact on the distribution of other limited resources such as food and fresh water as well. All this leads to the conclusion that energy will be a pressing issue for the future of humanity.
Another important consideration is that all energy sources have disadvantages as well as advantages, risks as well as opportunities, both in the production of the resource and in its distribution and ultimate use. Coal, the oldest of the "new" energy sources, is still used extensively to produce electricity, despite its potential environmental and safety concerns in mining both underground and open cut mining. Burning coal releases sulphur and nitrogen oxides which in turn can lead to acid rain and a cascade of detrimental consequences. Coal production requires careful regulation and oversight to allow it to be used safely and without damaging the environment. Even a resource like wind energy using large wind turbines has its critics because of the potential for bird kill and noise pollution. Some critics also find large wind turbines an unsightly addition to the landscape, particularly when the wind farms are erected in pristine environments. Energy from nuclear fission, originally believed to be "too cheap to meter" has not had the growth predicted because of the problem with the long term storage of the waste from nuclear reactors and because of public perception regarding the danger of catastrophic accidents such as has happened at Chernobyl in 1986 and at Fukushima in 2011.
Even more recently, the measured amount of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, in the global atmosphere has steadily increased and is now greater than 400 parts per million (ppm). This has raised concern in the scientific community and has led the majority of climate scientists to conclude that this increase in CO2 will produce an increase in global temperatures. We will see a rise in ocean temperature, acidity and sea level, all of which will have a profound impact on human life and ecosystems around the world. Relying primarily on fossil fuels far into the future may therefore prove precarious, since burning coal, oil and natural gas will necessarily increase CO2 levels. Certainly for the long term future, adopting a variety of alternative energy sources which do not produce CO2 seems to be our best strategy.
The World Scientific Series on Current Energy Issues explores different energy resources and issues related to the use of energy. The volumes are intended to be comprehensive, current, and include an international perspective. The authors in the series are experts in their respective fields, and provide reliable information that can be useful to scientists and engineers, but also to policy makers and the general public interested in learning about the essential concepts related to energy. The authors represent an impressive list of scientific and engineering talent from many countries which ensures that the international aspects of energy issues will be considered. Their brief bios are included at the end of each volume.
The series' volumes deal with the technical aspects of energy questions and also include relevant discussion about economic and policy matters. The goal of the series is not polemical but rather is intended to provide information that will allow the reader to reach conclusions based on sound, scientific data. More information on the World Scientific Series on Current Energy Issues and its books can be found at: http://www.
About the Series Editor
Gerard M. Crawley
Gerard "Gary" Crawley is the President of Marcus Enterprises LLC based in North Carolina. Previously, Professor Crawley served as the Director of the Frontiers Engineering and Science Directorate of Science Foundation Ireland from 2004-2007. Prior to this, Professor Crawley served as the Dean of the College of Science and Mathematics at the University of South Carolina from 1998 to 2004. At Michigan State University, he was Dean of the Graduate School from 1994-1998 and earlier Chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy from 1988-1994. Professor Crawley served two terms at the US National Science Foundation, one as the Director of the Physics Division, 1987-88, and earlier as a Program Officer in the Nuclear Physics Program. He has also served as the Chair of the Nuclear Physics Division of the American Physical Society in 1991-1992. Dr Crawley was born in Scotland but his first degree is from the University of Melbourne in Australia. He obtained his PhD in Physics from Princeton University in 1965. He is the author of over 150 articles in refereed journals and wrote a text book Energy published in 1975. He is also the editor of the World Scientific Handbook of Energy published in February 2013. Currently Professor Crawley is the editor of the World Scientific Series on Current Energy Issues. The first three volumes in the series were published in 2016. He is also the co-author of a book, The Grant Writers Handbook, which was published by Imperial College Press in 2015. He has previously consulted for the National Research Foundation of the UAE (2008-2011) and the National Center for Science and Technical Evaluation, Republic of Kazakhstan from 2008-2012.
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About World Scientific Publishing Co.
World Scientific Publishing is a leading independent publisher of books and journals for the scholarly, research, professional and educational communities. The company publishes about 600 books annually and about 130 journals in various fields. World Scientific collaborates with prestigious organizations like the Nobel Foundation, US National Academies Press, as well as its subsidiary, the Imperial College Press, amongst others, to bring high quality academic and professional content to researchers and academics worldwide. To find out more about World Scientific, please visit http://www.
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