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Home > Schools Resources > Energy and Society
Energy Research Unit

Schools Resources: Energy and Society

  • All societies are heavily dependent on energy.
  • Humans transform energy found in their environment into a flow of useful energy used to sustain their social and economic needs.
  • This conversion can be obtained in two ways.
    • First, by transforming food energy into muscular power within the human body.
    • Second, by transforming energy outside the human body, such as burning gasoline in a tractor or harnessing an ox to a plough.
  • In order to survive, society must have access to adequate energy for its needs.
  • This energy is produced in many ways but today mainly results from the burning of fossil fuels: oil, coal and gas.
  • Using fossil fuels creates pollution, such as oxides of sulphur and nitrogen which contribute to acid rain, and carbon dioxide which contributes to global climate change.
  • If left unchecked, global climate change will lead to loss of agricultural land, extinction of species and loss of human life through famine, war and flooding.
  • By the rational use of energy, energy saving, energy efficiency and the use of renewable sources of energy we can mitigate the effects of global warming and make economic growth sustainable.
  • ERU are involved in research to assess the potential effects of global warming and to assess urban energy management strategies.
Society depends on energy
  ERU Projects

Sustainable Cities


Updated 17 May, 2018
Energy Research Unit at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
Energy Research Unit
Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
Science & Technology Facilities Council