Energy is the most important issue in the world today and it's getting more important every day. We are living through a period of explosive population growth that will see at least another two billion people added to the global population - currently standing at 7.1 billion - over the next 20 years.
Renewable technologies represent one of the few ready and easily deployable solutions to the energy challenges we face. But as those challenges increase in years to come, what would happen if we didn't turn to that technology to meet them? What would the wider impacts be if we failed to replace the finite fossil energy sources which sustain our very way of life?
As with all questions of energy supply in the 21st Century - the issues are complex. It seems that shale gas will indeed be exploited in the UK, if not in France and many other jurisdictions. However it is unlikely to prove the perfect solution to cheap energy security that some advocates have claimed.
The military cooperation agreements announced last month with Algeria and Libya are part of UK 'energy diplomacy' aimed at securing access to strategic resources in North Africa. Both countries are identified in the UK Energy Security Strategy as producers of gas and oil which are important trading partners and hence countries which are important to the UK's energy security.
The UK government's decision to resume fracking has been welcomed by the oil industry, and widely lambasted by environmental campaigners. But to a large extent the debate about the potential of shale gas in this country has completely missed the point.
An analysis published last year by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and International Energy Agency found that gas, oil and coal companies in the UK have been receiving more than £3 billion a year in the form of tax breaks and other incentives for production and consumption.