004 - Energy

Geographic knowledge and understanding

An overview of global patterns and trends in the availability and consumption of:

energy, including the relative and changing importance of hydrocarbons, nuclear power, renewables, new sources of modern energy.

Key Concepts

As a place experiences processes of development its desired sources of energy changes due to the amount and stability required. There is a huge amount of geopolitical power involved in controlling energy. Being energy poor makes a country vulnerable. There are many possibilities associated with the changing availability of energy (as reserves dwindle), due to technological innovation in the production, transfer and storage of energy as well as the increasing demand for sources that involve less carbon release.

Key Terminology

                • CO2 / carbon release (low and high carbon release)

                • Man made climate change

                • Low carbon power

                • Energy grid

                • Energy storage

                • Carbon capture and storage

                • Green technology

Define the key terms above using your 'Geography for the IB Diploma Study and Revision Guide' by Simon Oakes and the useful links below.

Useful Links

Activity One - Describe

As you are getting very used to doing we need to describe our energy consumption before we can begin to explain why the changes have happened and begin to explore practical plans for the future.

  1. Using image one, describe the global trend in the consumption of different forms of energy.

  2. Using image two, describe the trend in the number of people with and without electricity.

  3. Using image three, describe the trend in energy consumption between regions.

Activity Two - Specifics and Explanation


We are currently hugely dependent on hydrocarbons for our energy sources but what has led to this?

  1. Read the article below from the 'Our World in Data' website and suggest why you think that there has been a general increase in the use of fossil fuels energy. Think back to your prior lessons and you can also look in the Simon Oakes text book for help.

Taken From: https://ourworldindata.org/energy-production-and-changing-energy-sources/

Nuclear Power

As you have just done for the fossil fuels you will need to describe the changes in the use of nuclear energy and then suggest reasons for the change. Think about the natural disasters which may have also had an impact on nuclear energy use.


The final area to focus on is to look at the changes in the use of renewable energy. Again describe the global changes and then suggest reasons for the changes.

Activity Three - Sustainable Development Goals - New Sources of 'Modern' Energy

Now that you know the changes in energy use and why the changes have been happening it is important to link it to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). For energy this is Goal 7.

  1. Why is this SDG focusing on energy?

  2. Why do we need to provide modern energy in lower income countries?

  3. Watch the youtube clip below and create a detailed example of how clean cook stoves could change lives.

Exam Style Questions

Describe the changing importance of oil as an energy source. [2]

Explain two reasons for the relative (compare) and changing importance of one of the energy. [2+2]