In a new UN climate report, scientists insist that it is now or never for the global community to address the harmful effects of carbon emissions. If we don’t address the current spate of climate soon to ensure that global warming does not exceed 1.5 degrees, the world is staring at disaster.
Many strategies to counter the climate change monster have been suggested over time including maintaining the political pressure, avoiding wastage of resources, and insisting on planet-centric investments. In all these conversations, the bottom line appears to be a shift to renewable energies.
Where exactly do renewables sit in the fight against climate change? This article takes a deep dive into this relationship.
The Dire Consequences of Climate Change
The World’s climate is one of those complex puzzles that we have struggled to understand. However, evidence is now immense that global warming is occurring at a dangerous rate. Experts have been measuring temperatures in the subsurface ocean and surface air for decades now. Global warming has altered the global climate.
The worrying status of climate change can be derived from the recent UN report on climate change. Specifically, there are key messages from the report.
First, the world is set to lose some things never to see them again. The irreversible effects of climate change are painful but a reality. Extinctions are now evident, with some species on the verge because they cannot adapt anymore to temperature rise. All this is because of human-related effects.
People will not be spared from the direct effects of climate change. Within the next three decades, the rise in sea level may lead to the loss of numerous homes.
No matter what emissions scenario you look at, the 1.5C global warming target is going to be surpassed, exposing the world to unprecedented multiple consequences from the environment.
Non-Renewables and Air Pollution
Switching from non-renewables is part of the solution that the world needs urgently to combat the scary future related to climate change. Other approaches include promoting energy-efficient buildings, creating green cities, and decarbonizing the transport sector.
While it is clear that triggers of climate change are more than just reliance on non-renewable energy sources, research has continually shown that these conventional sources of energy are the largest contributors to the problem.
Consider the various ways reliance on fossil fuels ruins the environment and promotes climate change.
Whenever we use natural gas, oil, and other fossil fuels, we feed greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Note that greenhouse gases, in the right amount, are essential for the habitability of the Earth. Most importantly, they shield the earth from UV radiation and regulate heat.
However, fossil-fuel-related activities contribute to the greenhouse gases content and unnecessary heat is trapped in the gas. That’s what contributes to global warming because the Earth’s surface becomes warmer.
A small commute may seem inconsequential in this arithmetic, but it all contributes in the long run. Nonrenewable energy contributes to greenhouse gases in a widely spread manner.
The level of greenhouse gases related to human activities is increasing fast, but the most worrying thing is that controlling the matter isn’t easy. Even more alarming is the fact that the gases will remain trapped in the atmosphere for many years to come.
Using nonrenewable energy isn’t the only way this source contributes to global warming and climate change. Here are others:
- Drilling accidents and oil spills
- Substantial waste in land mining and oil rigs
Climate Change Control with Renewable Energies
Currently, many parts of the world are exploring the renewable option as an alternative source of energy. The future is renewable energy because the ultimate goal is to rely on these sources 100%. By 2050 and based on the current speed of adoption, 50% of global energy will come from renewables.
A cleaner atmosphere is a big boost that can come from a shift to renewables. As renewables take more center stage, there is hope that greenhouse gas emissions will subside. This will translate into less atmospheric pollution.
In many places, the deployment of renewable energy is already producing fruits. Europe is one of the best examples of what renewable energies can do in the fight against climate change. 10 years ago, a report indicated that initiating renewable energy efforts in 2005 had saved the continent 7% emissions. That realization seems to have prompted even more efforts in the deployment of renewables.
Europe is now beating target after target as it seeks to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. For instance, 22 member states have already exceeded the targets 2009 on reliance on renewables by two percentage points. Malta, the lowest performing country in this regard, had 11% of renewables according to a recent report.
If the world were to replicate this and many other examples, the effect of reversing climate change would be remarkable. This year is a turning point with many crucial conversations around climate action taking place.
At the moment, renewable energies are at about 27% of the total power generated globally. This figure could reach 25% in the next three years. However, more work is needed if the world is to get to the net zero targets in 2050.
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