But to truly transform our economy, to protect our security, and save our planet from the ravages of climate change, we need to ultimately make clean, renewable energy the profitable kind of energy
The term 'sustainable energy' is used throughout this report to denote energy systems, technologies, and resources that are not only capable of supporting long-term economic and human development needs, but that do so in a manner compatible with (1) preserving the underlying integrity of essential natural systems, including averting catastrophic climate change; (2) extending basic energy services to the more than 2 billion people worldwide who currently lack access to modern forms of energy; and (3) reducing the security risks and potential for geopolitical conflict that could otherwise arise from an escalating competition for unevenly distributed oil and natural gas resources. In other words, the term 'sustainable' in this context encompasses a host of policy objectives beyond mere supply adequacy.
The basic forms of clean energy are often cited as those that come from water, wind, or sun (solar). In some cases, some manufacturing and use of coal is considered clean and called clean coal. This last is a matter of dispute among environmentalists.
It's hoped that clean energy use, especially as total substitution for use of things like oil, might help to reduce global warming and greenhouse gas emission, creating a safer planet for all inhabitants. In reality, clean energy has its problems too, which have not been fully realized because it is not a complete replacement for energy created by non-renewable resources. For instance, wind farms that can provide power can have significant effect on local bird populations, and birds of some types can face grave depletion of numbers when they live near wind farms.
Nevertheless, despite some negative consequences to the environment from things like wind farms or use of hydroelectric power, these tend to be minimal in comparison to the use of petroleum or non-clean coal. Many environmentalists reason that though no power source is completely without risk, clean energy could have a wide reaching effect on healing the planet and perhaps stemming the tide of global warming. An additional reason why clean energy can be so desirable is because it tends to come from sources that are free. While harnessing this energy costs money, wind and sun aren't owned by anybody in particular.
This is not the case with things like oil. Most of the oil deposits in the world are gathered in a few places, and the majority is located in the Middle East. Many who are proponents of creating clean energy sources say that dependence on oil in foreign countries creates a host of diplomatic problems. Countries may need to sacrifice in order to get the resources they need or wars may be in part consequence of fighting over this resource. There are numerous people who believe that wind or solar energy could lead not only to a cleaner planet but also a more peaceful world.