The Contemporary Situation

  • Filipe Duarte SantosEmail author
Part of the The Frontiers Collection book series (FRONTCOLL)


Let us return to the present and to the great challenges we face nowadays. We live in a remarkable period of history in which we enjoy a magnificent quality of life, characterized by levels of well-being and comfort, never before attained. We have food security and relatively easy access to health care, housing, energy, good quality water, education, professional training, culture, information, very good means of communication, exceptional mobility, and an almost limitless variety of goods and services. But this more or less luxurious way of life is only accessible to about twenty per cent of the world population. However, it is the current world paradigm and serves as both a model and a goal for the rest of humanity. The long-term survival of the paradigm and its application to a growing number of people depends on the development models adopted at national, regional, and global levels, and on how they achieve a sustainable use of natural resources and avoid dangerous environmental degradation. In this context, energy has special relevance due to its central position as regards social and economic development. Finding sustainable energy sources and systems to support world development over the next 100 years and beyond is surely one of our most important and difficult challenges at the beginning of the 21st century.


Gross Domestic Product Gross Domestic Product Growth Primary Energy Source Development Assistance Committee Gross World Product 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Fac. Ciêncas Depto. FísicaUniversidade de LisboaLisboaPortugal

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