Dec 8, 2009

The 2000 Watt Society

I had not heard of this organization til recently.
Here are some highlights from Wikipedia on what it tries to accomplish:

The 2000-watt society (2,000-Watt Society) is a vision, originated by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Z├╝rich at the end of 1998, in which each person in the developed world would cut their over-all rate of energy use to an average of no more than 2,000 watts (i.e. 17,520 kilowatt-hours per year of all energy use, not only electrical) by the year 2050, without lowering their standard of living.

Two thousand watts is approximately the current world average rate of total energy use. This compares to averages of around 6,000 watts in western Europe, 12,000 watts in the United States[1], 1500 watts in China, 1000 watts in India, and only 300 watts in Bangladesh.[2] Switzerland itself, currently using an average of around 5,000 watts, was last a 2000-watt society in the 1960s.

Here's what consumption could be for you:

Breakdown of average energy consumption of 5.1 kW by a Swiss person as of July 2008: It is envisaged that achieving the aim of a 2000-watt society will require, amongst other measures, a complete reinvestment in the country's capital assets; refurbishment of the nation's building stock to bring it up to low energy building standards; significant improvements in the efficiency of road transport, aviation and energy-intensive material use; the possible introduction of high-speed maglev trains; the use of renewable energy sources, district heating, microgeneration and related technologies; and a refocusing of research into new priority areas.

I find this fascinating since it is a very bold step.
If we truly want to reverse CO2 production this type of initiative is what we will need.
The problem is that Switzerland, although a tremendous(and exceptionally beautiful) country is a bit insular and small and very democratic so it may be easier to apply these standards to this country than to say Brazil, the US, China, India and other large polluters.

But if Switzerland can shoot for 2000 maybe others ie the US could shoot for 2500 or 3000. Still less than the 12,ooo it says we currently use. Which seems a bit embarrassing it is so much larger than others.

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