The need to transition to renewable energy is becoming more urgent for many reasons.
The pace in which the world needs to transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy needs to urgently accelerate as the threat from rising global temperatures increases each day increasing climate disasters and driving up electricity prices.
There is a more than 50% chance that temperatures will exceed 2C unless the climate pledges made leading up to the 2021 U.N. Climate Change Conference are not strictly adhered to. This increase would push global temperatures past the worst-case scenario and past the point that any human civilization in history has experienced.
Renewable to The Rescue of Climate and Electricity Rates
Renewable energy will be instrumental in reducing the global reliance of fossil fuels, the leading cause of the greenhouse emissions that are accelerating the warming. Even so, fossil fuels are deeply embedded in the foundation of the world economy. Making clothes, producing crops, and electricity for homes all involve processes that utilize crude oil, natural gas and coal. Most of the energy services, including electricity generation, are derived from fossil fuels. Global energy consumption has grown tenfold since the turn of the 20th century. Industrial manufacturing is the largest consumer of electricity/energy (33%), followed by transportation, and then residential. But the current energy model is not sustainable. It will need to change quickly to mitigate the dangerous warming that could plague generations to come.
“When you turn on your lights in 30 to 40 years, if everything goes well, the energy to power your home to get your electricity on is going to be powered by renewables.”Molly Taft, Science Reporter – Gizmodo
The key to this lofty but attainable goal will be the decisions that the private sector and government make in the near future to prevent weather-climate disasters that drive of the cost of electricity and energy.
Fossil fuels, which contain carbon, release carbon dioxide when burned and interact with the oxygen in the atmosphere. Those greenhouse gases are the culprit for the “thermal instability” that is leading to an increase of severe weather events including drought, wildfires and rising sea levels. Scientists have found that since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide has increased nearly 49%, which is more than the increase of the previous 20,000 years.
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has warned that warming above 1.5 degrees Celsius, considered the conservative warming figure, will lead to further increases in those deadly extreme natural disasters. The world will see more intense storms, more intense wildfires, and intense rains. The renewable energy transition is about making sure it doesn’t get that much worse. And saving on electricity costs will allow the world to focus resources on other matters.
Cost competitive and renewable energy drawn from solar and wind power have the ability to become the primary energy source. The doubts that people had about whether the world could transition to another energy foundation have been disproven. Nevertheless, it will take a significant societal shift to change the course of the warming on the planet. The U.S.A. is far from reaching a net-zero carbon emissions economy, but over the last twenty years innovation has driven renewable prices down and demand is up… a factor impacting elevated electric costs. The majority of the responsibility lies on the industrial sector, but even something as simple as switching from gas-powered stoves to electric in homes will make a difference.
In addition, people who live in cities can add to the conservation effort by biking or taking public transportation. These adjustments will have additional benefits for all residents: cleaner air and less noise. Those who drive can switch to electric cars which will decrease the 337 million gallons of gasoline consumed by Americans per day.
However, the climate fight goes far beyond individual lifestyle changes. Even the shifting away from construction materials, such as steel and concrete that make up about 20% of global carbon dioxide emissions, will be necessary. There will also be an increased reliance on batteries in the future. Some will be used to store renewable energy sourced from wind and solar power. In addition, the cost of lithium ion has fallen 97% over the past three decades, making the use of batteries more affordable.