Energia e sostenibilità: due libri

Brani estratti dai testi Energia per l'astronave Terra e Energy for a Sustainable World. 
Sceglio un brano, leggilo, riflettici sopra in base alle tue conoscenze ed esperienze e riportalo alla classe.




  1. «La realtà è che in media oltre la metà dell’energia consumata dal cittadino europeo serve per riscaldare gli ambienti in cui vive, e quasi un altro terzo serve per far funzionare le sue automobili. La prima cosa da fare è quindi mettersi una maglia in più e abbassare da 21 a 19 gradi il termostato di casa: ciò riduce fino al 20% i consumi per il riscaldamento e fa risparmiare un sacco di soldi sulla bolletta del gas» Armaroli, Balzani
  2. «Il dato però più interessante dei consumi energetici nei trasporti è la straordinaria efficienza dei treni: spostarsi su rotaia significa ridurre dell’80% il consumo energetico rispetto all’auto» Armaroli, Balzani
  3. «Spostare un kilogrammo di ciccia con le gambe costa circa 3,5 kJ di energia al kilometro, mentre spostarlo con un’auto di media potenza richiede circa 30 kJ/km» «I veicoli circolanti nei soli Stati Uniti consumano circa il 7% di tutta l’energia primaria mondiale. Si tratta di uno dei più insostenibili sprechi della nostra civiltà del petrolio a buon mercato» Armaroli, Balzani
  4. «Oggi per esempio negli Stati Uniti soltanto il 44% dell’energia primaria si trasforma in servizio energetico utile: il 56% va perduto» «Quando qualcuno vi chiede un consiglio su come risparmiare energia, suggeritegli di non comprare a Natale fragole cilene. All’inizio l’interlocutore rimarrà perplesso; poi, riflettendoci sopra, capirà che è una delle cose migliori da fare se vogliamo incominciare a cambiare un sistema energetico che non potremo continuare a permetterci all’infinito» Armaroli, Balzani
  5. «L’abbandono graduale dell’energia densa dei combustibili fossili e il passaggio progressivo quella diluita delle energie rinnovabili comporterà un mutamento sostanziale nello stile di vita. Dovremo abituarci a consumare meno energia, particolarmente nel settore dei trasporti; però saremo più liberi, perché l’energia non sarà più localizzata in zona limitate del pianeta ma sarà diffusa ovunque, non più posseduta da un manipolo di nazioni» Armaroli, Balzani
  6. «Bisogna riconoscere che è proprio il pessimismo basato sulla conoscenza, e non l’ottimismo che viene dall’ignoranza o dalla disinformazione, che potrà farci fare passi in avanti. Soltanto sapendo come stanno le cose potremo pensare di porvi rimedio» Armarli, Balzani
  7. «È necessaria un’educazione all’uso razionale dell’energia nelle scuole di ogni ordine e grado. Ognuno deve diventare consapevole del fatto che una luce accesa, un apparecchio elettrico in funzione, un’auto in moto hanno un costo non soltanto economico, ma anche ambientale e sociale» Armaroli, Balzani
  8. «Il flusso sterminato di energia solare e l’ingegno umano non basteranno da soli a salvarci dalla crisi energetica, climatica e ambientale. La transizione energetica richiede un cambiamento radicale di mentalità, stili di vita e pratiche consolidate. Quello che serve è n’iniezione consistente di sobrietà, buon senso e lungimiranza» Armaroli, Balzani
  9. «If hydrogen has to replace gasoline, the US transportation system has to be drastically modified. Perhaps American people should travel less; surely, they should use less fuel consuming vehicles. Furthermore, use of personal cars should be strongly reduced, and public transportation systems based on moderate electricity consumption should be developed» Armaroli, Balzani pag. 284
  10. «Many economists seem to believe that well-being correlates with Energy consumption, that energy prices reflect all significant costs and that any societal problems can be solved by enhanced economic growth. Is it true? Several scientists are convinced that technology will solve the energy problem as well as the problems that technology itself is creating. Can we trust them?» Nicola Armaroli, Vincenzo Balzani: “Energy for a sustainable world”
  11. «Whereas it used to be axiomatic that civilization would always progress over time, because science and technology would have solved any problem, now we are no longer sure about that. Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable. We have to take urgent and responsible decisions right now: tomorrow might be too late. The quest for ecological and social sustainability requires every single citizen to become aware that consuming resources above a threshold of his/her real needs does not help to create a better world. Earth is in our hands: are we wise enough to develop, with the help of science and technology, an ecological sustainable civilization capable of reducing disparity and creating a more peaceful world?» Nicola Armaroli, Vincenzo Balzani: “Energy for a sustainable world”
  12. «An old Italian proverb says that the only difference between an optimist and a pessimist is that the latter is better informed. A short-sighted optimism based on unawareness will not allow mankind to move toward a real progress. Pessimism, which arises from the consciousness of the gravity of the situation, is the right starting point: to propose solutions, we must acknowledge that there are problems and we must know them in any possible detail. There is a great need for spreading information about the unsafe conditions of our planet.
  13. «Finding a solution to the energy problem is a challenge of utmost difficulty, but also an extraordinary opportunity. Perhaps we are still in time to change and create an Anthropocene epoch based on resource conservation, waste reduction, human relationships, and global solidarity. To achieve this epochal result, we need to educate public opinion and to find visionary leaders capable of looking far, over the planet and into the future. Our generation will ultimately be defined by how we live up to the energy challenge.» Nicola Armaroli, Vincenzo Balzani: “Energy for a sustainable"
  14. «In spite of these alarm bells, growth remains the magic word of narrow-minded economists and politicians. They believe that the economic growth must continue indefinitely, and therefore they incessantly press for increasing production and consumption. In affluent countries, we live in societies where the concepts of “enough” and “too much” have been removed. We do not take into account that the larger the rates of resources consumption and waste disposal, the more difficult it will be to reach sustainability and guarantee the survival of human civilization» Nicola Armaroli, Vincenzo Balzani: “Energy for a sustainable world”
  15. «Domestic disparity is a difficult problem to solve in a society where the way of life is based on consumerism, and international disparity is a problem set aside by politicians of affluent countries to please their supporters. In the long run, however, both problems have to be tackled because disparities destabilize human society. If things so not improve, sooner or later the poor will rise up against the rich. The boost “illegal” immigration in affluent countries that lie at he boundary between the North and the South of the world (e.g., USA, Italy, Spain) is indeed a forewarning of what will happen in the international scene. Any action to restore equity should likely pass through lowering resource consumption (in particular, energy) by the rich while attempting to raise that of the poor. Our time is characterized by an unsustainable growth in an unequal world. We should try to decrease disparity, while being aware that growth based on consumption of nonrenewable resources is poised to be an ephemeral illusion.» Nicola Armaroli, Vincenzo Balzani: “Energy for a sustainable world” pag. 7
  16. «As members of mankind, we have the moral duty of contributing to solving the energy problem as a decisive step towards creating a more peaceful world. And if we are scientists, we have a great responsibility that comes from our knowledge and educational duty» Nicola Armaroli, Vincenzo Balzani: “Energy for a sustainable world” pag. 9
  17. «There are hard questions. History teaches that the pressures of the great, hard questions can bend and even break well-established principles, thereby transforming difficult challenge into unexpected, astonishing opportunities. But we should not forget that the challenge of saving spaceship Earth and its passengers needs the engagement of all of us. And we have to start right now» Nicola Armaroli, Vincenzo Balzani: “Energy for a sustainable world” pag. 10
  18. «In spite of these alarm bells, growth remains the magic word of narrow-minded economists and politicians. They believe that the economic growth must continue indefinitely, and therefore they incessantly press for increasing production and consumption. In affluent countries, we live in
  19. societies where the concepts of “enough” and “too much” have been removed. We do not take into account that the larger the rates of resources consumption and waste disposal, the more difficult it will be to reach sustainability and guarantee the survival of human civilization» Nicola Armaroli, Vincenzo Balzani: “Energy for a sustainable world” pag. 6
  20. «Domestic disparity is a difficult problem to solve in a society where the way of life is based on consumerism, and international disparity is a problem set aside by politicians of affluent countries to please their supporters. In the long run, however, both problems have to be tackled because disparities destabilize human society. If things so not improve, sooner or later the poor will rise up against the rich. The boost “illegal” immigration in affluent countries that lie at he boundary between the North and the South of the world (e.g., USA, Italy, Spain) is indeed a forewarning of what will happen in the international scene. Any action to restore equity should likely pass through lowering resource consumption (in particular, energy) by the rich while attempting to raise that of the poor. Our time is characterized by an unsustainable growth in an unequal world. We should try to decrease disparity, while being aware that growth based on consumption of nonrenewable resources is poised to be an ephemeral illusion.» Nicola Armaroli, Vincenzo Balzani: “Energy for a sustainable world” pag. 7
  21. «As members of mankind, we have the moral duty of contributing to solving the energy problem as a decisive step towards creating a more peaceful world. And if we are scientists, we have a great responsibility that comes from our knowledge and educational duty» Nicola Armaroli, Vincenzo Balzani: “Energy for a sustainable world” pag. 9
  22. «There are hard questions. History teaches that the pressures of the great, hard questions can bend and even break well-established principles, thereby transforming difficult challenge into unexpected, astonishing opportunities. But we should not forget that the challenge of saving spaceship Earth and its passengers needs the engagement of all of us. And we have to start right now» Nicola Armaroli, Vincenzo Balzani: “Energy for a sustainable world” pag. 10
  23. «Several studies suggest that people living in countries with very high energy consumption are often less happy than people living in countries with lower energy use». Nicola Armaroli, Vincenzo Balzani: “Energy for a sustainable world” pag. 305
  24. «Quality of life and energy consumption are strictly correlated during basic economic development of a country, but they are not correlated in affluent nations» Nicola Armaroli, Vincenzo Balzani: “Energy for a sustainable world” pag. 305
  25. «A significant factor in increasing oil demand has been human population growth and, in recent years, production has often outpaced this growth. The world population increased by 6,2 % in 2000-2005 whereas, in the same period, global oil production increased by 8,2%. The exploding numbers of oil-fueled road vehicles has so far drawn much less attention than population increase. In 1939 the world’s roughly 2,3 billion inhabitants shared a total of around 47 million motor vehicles. Today’s 6,8 billion human being have around 900 million motor vehicles to fuel. In several developing countries, the rate of increase in vehicles is more than 10 times larger than the rate of population growth» Nicola Armaroli, Vincenzo Balzani: “Energy for a sustainable world” pag. 55
  26. «But what about the economic burden for the citizens? Will people ever want or could simply afford to buy PV devices and become energy entrepreneurs selling electricity to local utilities? To give an answer, we can make some simple calculations analyzing the case of Italy. Current peak demand in Italy is 55 GW. Installing 100 GWp of c-Si silicon panels all over the country, at the average current turnkey price of about 3000 €/kWp, would result in a huge distributed bill of 300 billion €, apparently unaffordable. But let us turn our attention to cars. Every year Italians buy an average of 1000000 new cars at a (conservative) price of 15000 €, thus spending 15 billion euro. There are 35 million cars circulating in Italy, each of which costs on average of 3000 €per year for maintenance (fuel, insurance, taxes, tires, etc.), totaling 105 billion euro annually. So Italians, every year, spend more than 120 billion euro to run their cars. If we compare this number with the above theoretical investment for PV (300 billion €) and consider that the latter will work with free fuel and very little maintenance cost for at least 25 years, we can probably understand that, even with today’s high price, PV is already an affordable choice for affluent countries. In fact the people regularly spend similar amounts of or even more money for what they believe to be indispensable, for instance a car. Sure, a Maserati or even a tiny Fiat 500 is definitely more sexy than a boring chunk of silicon encased in a gray aluminum box, but that is another story» Nicola Armaroli, Vincenzo Balzani: “Energy for a sustainable world” pag. 200
  27. «The way in which the energy crisis can be defeated in wealthy countries is to throw out the illusion that well-being depends on ever increasing energy consumption» Nicola Armaroli, Vincenzo Balzani: “Energy for a sustainable world” pag. 306
  28. «Sooner or later we will be forced to change our lifestyle based on consumerism, that means produce-sell-buy-use-throw away regardless of the resources consumed, the real utility of the object made or service supplied, and the kind of waste generated. Economists and politicians should become aware that sustainability requires that we abandon the notion of endless economic expansion, as measured by the gross domestic product, as the necessary condition for a successful society. We need to enter a logic of sufficiency to attain ecological stability» Nicola Armaroli, Vincenzo Balzani: “Energy for a sustainable world” pag. 308
  29. «As already mentioned, a most important concept has to be emphasized: there is no way to maintain the present level of consumption in the affluent countries and raise at the same level the consumption of the entire mankind without devastating the planet. If civilization is to progress, in affluent countries a culture of uncontrolled growing consumption should change into a culture of a planned descent phase. Perhaps some people do not like such an idea, but the alternative is that events and contingencies will force us to change and this will be much more painful» Nicola Armaroli, Vincenzo Balzani: “Energy for a sustainable world” pag. 310
  30. «In China, electricity is obtained mainly by carbon-fired power plants (80%), and for the period 2004-2015 China has planned to build about 800 1 GW coal-fired plants, an average of about one plant every 5 days» Nicola Armaroli, Vincenzo Balzani: “Energy for a sustainable world” pag. 259