Energy priorities

Professor Howard Liddell (Letters, 24 November) notes emission targets can be met more effectively through a reduction in energy demand rather than an increase in supply. While energy conservation is important, the efficient use of energy is simply good engineering practice and has long been the result of technical innovation.

The Watt steam engine was significantly more efficient than the Newcomen engine, but increased efficiency and improved utility led to an increase in demand for coal. Similarly, fuel burn per passenger mile for civil aircraft has fallen by 75 per cent since the 1950s, but demand for air travel has grown as efficiency drives down costs. This is human progress.

We should not be afraid of advocating an increase in energy supply. The availability of low-cost energy since the industrial revolution has been an overwhelmingly civilising and liberating influence. The future provision of low-cost, clean energy must be a priority.


Williamwood Park West