Renewable Energy as a Solution to the Climate Crisis

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Our sea level is rising, our mighty Himalayas and ice caps are melting, glaciers are retreating, water level is reducing, biodiversity is being lost, we are facing erratic rainfall, drought is some places and flood in other, there are food insecurity and political instability, we are facing problems of coral bleaching and salinization, every year people lose lives and property because of weather extremes, and our livelihoods are changing. This is climate crisis. And all of these are only some of the issues that we are facing. Climate change not only causes new problems, it worsens and exacerbates the already existing ones too. According to Kevin Trenberth from U.S National Center for Atmospheric Research, “Global warming is contributing to an increased incidence of extreme weather because the environment in which all storms form   has changed from human activities.”

The anthropogenic climate change that we are facing now is due to the fossil fuel emission. The carbon in the atmosphere directly causes the increased global temperature, which is affecting our hydrological cycle, global air mass flow and subsequently the climate change. That is why it is absolutely important to keep in check our global emission, and go for renewable sources, which is not only feasible, but absolutely crucial to keep in check the health of our earth, our home. The emission of fossil fuel not only causes global warming and climate change, but causes serious problem of health hazards resulting due to air pollution.  In the 15 countries with the highest greenhouse gas emissions, the damage to health from poor air quality, largely associated with the burning of fossil fuels, is valued at an average of 4.4% of GDP, as said in the Better Climate, Better Growth: The New Climate Economy Report on September 2014. Switching from fossil fuel to alternative energy source is beneficial to the health of both people and the planet, and is always a win win situation.

“Continued emission of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and long-lasting changes in all components of the climate system, increasing the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.” (IPCC). According to J. Eric Smith, CEO, Swiss Re, “What keeps us up at night is climate change. We see the long-term effect of climate change on society, and it really frightens us.” Switching to alternative energy is a very sustainable solution we have, to fulfill the needs and demand of people while ensuring minimum possible harm to the environment as well. By opting for renewable, we pose least possible pressure on our planet.

The fact that renewable are a feasible source of energy is also proven by the difference between the green energy projection and reality. In year 2000, the projection was that worldwide wind capacity will reach 30 GW by 2010, by 2013 that goal was exceeded by a factor of 10X. The world’s largest offshore wind farm, the London Array, can power 470,000 homes. Mexico has invested heavily in wind, including building one of the world’s largest windfarms. On May 11, 2014,  Germany generated 74% of its electricity from solar and wind energy. In September 2014, South Australia powered an entire workday with solar and wind energy. According to reports, enough solar energy reaches Earth every hour to meet the power needs of the entire world for a full year.

The places that did not have electricity before can directly get these new solar or wind energy. Even in case of Nepal, the rural mountain villages that did not have any electricity, are now getting it from solar panel, which is also debunking the myth that trapping solar energy might be difficult in mountains.

We are at the stage when we know climate change is happening and we need to stop emission. This is also what the Paris Agreement pointed towards. Transitioning to clean energy will reduce our reliance on coal and fossil fuel, and therefore, help in reducing emissions. This is absolutely important as according to climate reports, even if we were to completely halt our emissions right now, it would take many years for the carbon in the atmosphere to reduce and the impacts to wear off.

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