By the Blouin News Science & Health staff

Heriberto Cabezas talks cost-effective energy

by in Environment.

A field of alternative energy wind farm turbines. bnzai9/bnzai9

A field of alternative energy wind farm turbines. bnzai9/bnzai9

In an interview with Blouin News, Heriberto Cabezas affirmed that not all talk about the future of the environment, climate change, and energy expenditure needs to be depressing. As Senior Science Advisor to the Sustainable Technology Division in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Research and Development and Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Systems Technology at the University of Pannonia in Hungary, Cabezas revealed that there have been some slow but sure steps taken in the right direction in terms of the renewables industry — ones that are vital for stemming the tide of global warming.

Scientists agree that global warming should be a drastic concern, yet it isn’t for many people. At the Blouin Creative Leadership Summit in September, Renate Christ, Secretary of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change described how emissions use has increased at a dangerous rate, and that action must be taken now in order to affect what the planet will look like in 2050. At the Crowds and Climate event at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in November, Anthony Leiserowitz, Director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication at Yale University, revealed that 2 billion people have never even heard of climate change — many of them living in places that are greatly affected by it. But all is not lost, and some regions are taking baby steps — important ones — towards minimizing the effects of negative human influence on the environment.

Cabezas says that there have been promising developments in renewables. He noted that the price of photovoltaics has dropped significantly over the last five years from $2 to 36 cents. Other renewables are also less expensive than they used to be, including solar electricity. In general, he says that energy conservation is now easier to implement than it used to be — a promising fact for all.

This item is especially important considering that many developing countries will be the ones consuming the most energy over the next several decades as they industrialize. Resources vary by country, but many nations are slowly improving their use of renewables. While it is difficult to calculate which countries are improving more than others, it is important to remember that “there is no magic bullet,” according to Cabezas. The planet has decades of work ahead for itself, and the short term goal should be to “continue doing what we’re doing”.

But there is a chief lesson that most of the world has yet to learn, which is that energy conservation tactics pay for themselves. There is ample evidence to show that strategies to conserve energy pay for themselves over time. That amount of time is different in each case — per renewable and per region — but Cabezas says it is definitely cost-effective. As skeptics and naysayers of the renewables industries continue to spout their arguments against wind, solar, hydro, and other powers, it is important for decision makers to keep in mind that not only will energy conservation win out financially over time, it is vital for the continued functioning of the planet throughout the next several decades.