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Uninterrupted provision of vital energy services (see Chapter 1, Section 1.2.2) – energy security – is a high priority of every nation. Energy security concerns are a key driving force of energy policy. These concerns relate to the robustness (sufficiency of resources, reliability of infrastructure, and stable and affordable prices); sovereignty (protection from potential threats from external agents); and resilience (the ability to withstand diverse disruptions) of energy systems. Our analysis of energy security issues in over 130 countries shows that the absolute majority of them are vulnerable from at least one of these three perspectives. For most industrial countries, energy insecurity means import dependency and aging infrastructure, while many emerging economies have additional vulnerabilities such as insufficient capacity, high energy intensity, and rapid demand growth. In many low-income countries, multiple vulnerabilities overlap, making them especially insecure.
Oil and its products lack easily available substitutes in the transport sector, where they provide at least 90% of energy in almost all countries. Furthermore, the global demand for transport fuels is steadily rising, especially rapidly in Asian emerging economies. Disruptions of oil supplies may thus result in catastrophic effects on such vital functions of modern states as food production, medical care, and internal security. At the same time, the global production capacity of conventional oil is widely perceived as limited. These factors result in rising and volatile prices of oil affecting all economies, especially low-income countries, almost all of which import over 80% of their oil supplies.
More than 50% of the global population already lives in urban settlements and urban areas are projected to absorb almost all the global population growth to 2050, amounting to some additional three billion people. Over the next decades the increase in rural population in many developing countries will be overshadowed by population flows to cities. Rural populations globally are expected to peak at a level of 3.5 billion people by around 2020 and decline thereafter, albeit with heterogeneous regional trends. This adds urgency in addressing rural energy access, but our common future will be predominantly urban. Most of urban growth will continue to occur in small-to medium-sized urban centers. Growth in these smaller cities poses serious policy challenges, especially in the developing world. In small cities, data and information to guide policy are largely absent, local resources to tackle development challenges are limited, and governance and institutional capacities are weak, requiring serious efforts in capacity building, novel applications of remote sensing, information, and decision support techniques, and new institutional partnerships. While ‘megacities’ with more than 10 million inhabitants have distinctive challenges, their contribution to global urban growth will remain comparatively small.
Energy-wise, the world is already predominantly urban. This assessment estimates that between 60–80% of final energy use globally is urban, with a central estimate of 75%. Applying national energy (or GHG inventory) reporting formats to the urban scale and to urban administrative boundaries is often referred to as a ‘production’ accounting approach and underlies the above GEA estimate.
Single crystals of Y4PtGa12 have been synthesized and characterized by X-ray diffraction. The compound crystallizes in the cubic Im3m space group with lattice parameters a = 8.530(5) Å. Magnetic property measurements show that Y4PtGa12 does not order magnetically. Structure-property relationships with the isostructural antiferromagnet Tb4PtGa12 are discussed.
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