The effects of climate change are quite clear and continuously growing as a threat to Earth’s life sustaining environment. Although we are still heavily depended on fossil fuels, the world is now trying to phase out conventional energy and shifting towards renewable energy. However, recent studies show that ‘what’s next after all fossil fuel reserves are depleted?’ is not the most urgent question right now, that position is being quickly taken over by the threat of disastrous effects of climate change. UN climate chief Christiana Figueres has highlighted on Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that how we protect our climate in next 3 years will reflect on our future.
It has been estimated that taking actions to permanently lowering carbon emissions by 2020 will put a stop to irreversible climate change (that is about to happen). Understanding the plight, world Governments have decided to take on ‘beyond mandatory’ initiatives to stop global warming within time.
The Primary Cause of Climate Change
Our fossil fuel extraction and consumption causes the biggest amount of CO2 generation within the atmosphere.
Global energy supply through fossil fuels have reached from 6,100 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) in 1977 to 13,700 Mtoe by 2014. And unfortunately, Coal still holds its position as the second-largest energy source in the world. Such utilization choices have resulted into making countries like- China, India, and United States the top coal-related CO2 emitters, which are suspected to account for 70% of global CO2 emissions in future. Research shows that if our fossil fuel usage dependency persists, energy-related CO2 emissions in the world will increase from 32.3 billion metric tons in 2012 to 35.6 billion metric tons in 2020, ultimately reaching 43.2 billion metric tons in 2040.
Global energy related CO2 emissions are estimated to increase at an average of 1.0% from 2012 to 2040. Emissions in Mexico and Chile grew by 1.1%/year, while South Korea saw an increase of 1.0%/year (in average). In Europe, CO2 emissions increased by 0.2%/year and in the Americas, 0.3%/year (in average) increase is noted. Asia stands with approximately 59% growth in global CO2 emissions from 2012 to an estimated 2040. China contributed to more than 41% of the total CO2 increase in Asia’s greenhouse gas emission, although the country has shown only 1.0%/year growth in CO2 emission. In comparison to other countries, it is noticeable that India stands with a 2.7%/year increase in CO2 emissions. From coal combustion alone, Asia’s CO2 emission is estimated to rise more than 2.2 billion metric tons in the future.
So it is easy to figure out that our dependency on fossil fuels is short-sighted. And limited fossil fuels would not be able to satisfy the energy demand that will rise with the population boom. This simple understanding indicates a fatal flaw in our conventional energy powered plans for the future.
Understanding the need to evolve, the world came together and started looking for alternate energy choices, initiating the energy revolution. Fossil fuel usage was indeed a progressive move for us, but when it still failed to provide energy to 1.6 billion people around the world, it was time for the world to evolve and initiate a transition to renewable sources of energy.
On the other hand, focusing on sustainable energy promises to help us construct a safer and more energy rich future without inflicting any damage to our climate and planet. Among various forms of renewable energy, solar received global acceptance as it is easy to manufacture, use, maintain, and feasible (followed by 90% drop in solar module prices) than other renewable energy choices. The whole world accepting solar and collaborating to speed up its growth as a main stream energy source makes it a revolution, which the world desperately needed.
What Solar Revolution Offers
While conventional energy pollutes the world, solar energy does nothing of the sort. Only 1 KW of green energy can reduce more than 3,000 pounds of CO2 annually. Utilizing renewable energy has helped Japan to phase out fossil fuel usage, displaying a decline in CO2 emission by 0.4%/year.
Advantages of solar energy-
- Solar PV modules are easily installable than other energy choices.
- Solar PV modules are low maintenance, but offer high performance.
- Solar PV modules can be used to harness energy from your roof as well (making you energy reliant).
- There comes an option with solar energy to sell your power to the grid and earn.
- Solar installations can offer consistent performance whether it is rain, snow, or a hot and humid.
Renewable energy sources impact the economy very positively, both on a global and local level. That is why developing countries like- Brazil, Philippines, Africa, Morroco, India etc. are seriously investing in renewable energy – especially solar ($286 billion was invested in renewable energy in 2016, and out of that amount $131.56 billion was invested by developing countries). The opportunity to re-structure economy and create jobs is so tangible with renewable energy ventures, that developing countries are betting huge on it, shifting from conventional energy. A closer look at developing countries highlight, that rising cost of conventional energy (due to their limited reserves) and threat upon climate have made it problematic for developing countries to initiate any kind of progress (since energy is the life force of development).
Judging from the changes that will surface with increased renewable energy usage in sectors like health, education, environment, and economy, global welfare is expected to rise by almost 2.7 per cent. So, besides optimum climate improvement, solar energy shift is promising socio-economic growth, which developing countries drastically need.