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LECTURE 1: BACKGROUND AND INTRODUCTION

Adonis Yatchew yatchew@chass.utoronto.ca www.economics.utoronto.ca/yatchew 150 St. George Street, Room 278

© A. Yatchew

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Energy and Environment are Fundamentally Interdisciplinary
The study of energy is intrinsically interdisciplinary in

nature – many disciplines inform our understanding of energy. The theoretical and applied sciences underpin the fundamental

potentialities of energy and their impacts, both beneficial and detrimental. Humanities document and elaborate the human consequences of

its use.
The social sciences analyse societal aspects.

© A. Yatchew

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Energy and Environment are Fundamentally Interdisciplinary
Sciences: the science of energy production and its environmental

impacts, most importantly climate change; the vast potential for noncarbon energy sources; the need for breakthrough technologies.

Humanities: the historical evolution of energy use, and how it has

affected technological, institutional and civilizational change; the role that energy and the related technologies have played in a succession of human epochs.

Social Sciences: the economics and politics of energy, our current

dependence on hydrocarbons (which provide over 80% of the energy we use) and the role that economic principles can play in resolving the often conflicting objectives of economic growth and environmental protection; the interplay of economics, politics and energy security.

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Course Objectives
1.

Broad overview of major areas of energy economics and related environmental issues. Understanding of important economic tools used to analyse energy markets. Develop capacity to understand public discourse and critically assess energy and environmental debates, (e.g., decarbonization, fracking, renewable energy, markets v. regulation …). Facility with vast data resources on energy and related environmental issues.

2.

3.

4.

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Sources of Energy
 Hydrocarbons
 Coal  Oil  Natural gas

 Renewables
 Hydro  Wind  Solar  Geothermal  Wood/Biomass

 Nuclear

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Sources of Energy - Canada

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Sources of Energy - Canada
 Hydrocarbons  Renewables  Nuclear

~75% ~15% ~10%

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Sources of Energy - World

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Sources of Energy - World
 Hydrocarbons  Renewables  Nuclear

~81% ~13% ~ 6%

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What Are Hydrocarbons?
 Molecules consisting of hydrogen

and carbon.

CxHy

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For example: Natural Gas Methane

CH4

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Hydrocarbons: Gases, Liquids and Solids
 Gas  Methane
 Dry gas  Wet gas

 Liquid  Conventional oil -- pumped from large underground pools/reservoirs  Tar sands – thick liquids (bitumen) lodged in sand and clay  Formed over millions of years from microscopic marine plants and animals  Solid  Coal – hard coal is mostly pure carbon  Dead plants → Peat → Lignite →Bituminous Coal → Anthracite

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The Carbon Economy
 Combustion of hydrocarbons produces energy.  For example, burning natural gas (methane)

CH4 + 2O2 → CO2 + 2 H2O + energy
produces
  

water energy and carbon dioxide → global warming.

© A. Yatchew

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The Hydrogen Economy?
 Burning hydrogen

2H2 + O2 → 2 H2O + energy
produces
 

water and energy.

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Energy and Life
• Any living organism relies on an external source of

energy—radiation from the Sun in the case of green plants, chemical energy in some form in the case of animals—to be able to grow and reproduce.

• The daily 1500–2000 Calories (6–8 MJ) recommended for

a human adult are taken as a combination of oxygen and food molecules, the latter mostly carbohydrates and fats, of which glucose (C6H12O6) and stearin (C57H110O6) are convenient examples. The food molecules are oxidised to carbon dioxide and...
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