FACT: Europe’s energy efficiency is the best in the world. As a result of widespread implementation of conservation and renewable technologies, Europe’s ecological “footprint” (the amount of the earth’s capacity that a population consumes) is about half that of the United States for the same standard of living.
The European landscape is being transformed slowly by giant high-tech windmills, vast solar arrays, underwater seamills, hydrogen-powered vehicles, “sea snakes,” and other renewable energy technologies. Europe is implementing conservation and “green” design in everything from skyscrapers to homes to fuel-efficient automobiles, high speed trains, low wattage light bulbs, and low flush toilets. Europe has gone both high- and low-tech: it has also developed thousands of kilometers of bicycle and pedestrian paths that are used by people of all ages. In the process, Europeans are creating entire new industries and hundreds of thousands of new jobs.
As a result of this activity, Europe has reduced its energy reliance on Russia (Russian gas now supplies only 6.5 percent of the overall E.U. primary energy supply) and the Middle East, diversifying its foreign sources of oil and natural gas. The heads of all 27 E.U. nations have agreed to make renewable energy sources 20 percent of the union’s energy mix and to cut carbon emissions by 20 percent by 2020. For all these reasons, BusinessWeek has stated that Europe is better prepared than the United States for this era of energy uncertainty.
– Steven Hill, guest blogger
You can see all the posts in this series here.
Steven Hill is the author of “Europe’s Promise: Why the European Way is the Best Hope in an Insecure Age” (www.europespromise.org). He’s visiting Seattle and Bellingham this week:
- Monday March 15 at 11 a.m., interview on the Dave Ross Show, KIRO 97.3 FM
- Monday March 15 at 7 p.m., presenting at the University of Washington Communications Building
- Tuesday March 16 at 7:30 pm: presenting at Town Hall Seattle (tickets here)
- Wednesday March 17, 7:00 p.m.: presenting at Village Books, Bellingham