Severe droughts, flooding, intense storms – everywhere you turn, the news is talking about extreme weather patterns that wreak havoc on the environment, economy, and society. Solar Energy – A Source of Light to Fight Climate Change, The Use of Portable Solar Panels and Solar Generators, RV Solar Panel Kits and Solar Panels for Camping, The Use of Solar Chargers and Solar Power Banks, Fourth National Climate Assessment Report, As Carbon Dioxide Levels Rise, Major Crops are Losing Nutrients. This translates into 25 years where you do not need to worry about electricity generation and where no additional environmental damage will be done to continue the production of energy. Please rate it or leave us a comment. States are then required to develop and submit their plans to regulate emissions in accordance with ACE guidelines for EPA review and approval. Most of our energy comes from burning fossil fuels, a process that emits carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas (GHG). This can save money for all ratepayers and allow us all to breathe cleaner air." Experiences in the US have shown that around 17.5 million tons (MT) of CO2 can be avoided which translates into 22,000 GWh of electricity. Para la traducción al español, haga clic aquí.. For 30 years, experts have claimed that humankind needs to switch to solar and wind energy to address climate change. If you’ve ever been to California, New … Electricity generated by fossil fuel power plants is available day and night, whether the sun is shining or the wind is blowing. However, if global temperature increases over 2°C, there may be no going back, and the effects of climate change would be unavoidable. Therefore, scientists agree that there is no other natural source of explanation for this rapid increase in CO2 levels than human activity. For instance, coal is generally extracted from the upper portion of the Earth’s crust in ore mines, recovering the coal from the mine using shovels and bulldozers to do the hard work. Solar joins the major leagues. If you live in San Francisco or Boston, you can see the solar panels in your neighborhood on a map. As solar energy keeps growing every year, these numbers have already surpassed the estimated values. Deforestation is also another devastating consequence of coal mining, this is caused by mountaintop removal for the mine. While these levels seem high, they are actually 12 percent lower than in 2005. Nevertheless, the amount of these associated emissions pale in comparison to emissions created by natural gas, oil, and coal. Despite this, carbon dioxide emissions related to energy continue to rise – reaching 33.1 billion tonnes in 2018, a record high, and have increased by more than 40% since 2000. PV panels do not require the use of water to generate electricity. Moreover, portable solar panels have very important uses in rural regions where access to electricity is limited. As a greenhouse gas, once CO2 is in the atmosphere, it holds warm air near the surface and adds extra heat to the global system. Moreover, other consequences of climate change are related to longer and harder droughts across the world, which also leads to less productive and less nutritious crops. The need to reduce GHGs is critical to life on earth. Another way individuals can avoid carbon emissions is to use clean, renewable solar energy. In 2010, China unveiled the first solar-powered air conditioner. You can see below, the amount of CO2 produced when a fuel is burned as a function of the carbon content. This is energy derived from natural resources which cannot be depleted over time and can be replenished within a short period 9. Solar energy presents a set of advantages that can be used to offset carbon emissions and investing in solar for your house will also help your wallet. A range between 1.5°C and 2°C was established in the Paris Agreement, however, reaching 2°C would already mean reaching to worst climate change consequences, therefore, it cannot be seen as a threshold. Coal is the third largest primary energy source in the U.S.; it’s also the dirtiest energy source. Last updated: January 8, 2021. Changing how industries are run or subsidised doesn’t sound like anything I can influence... can I? Besides, the report concludes that by 2050 carbon emissions must be cut 100%, making a complete transition to renewable energy sources. And it takes millions of years to accumulate the amount of fossil fuels that we will consume in 200 years. If using electricity generated by fossil fuels, just one kilowatt-hour of electricity can produce 1.76 to 2.07 pounds of CO2, according to the EIA. However, it is necessary to keep a constant cycle of extraction of the fossil source. If mass–produced, these devices could help reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions in China and other countries. Where there is sunlight and space, solar energy is accessible. Reduce the amount of products you use. Here you can take a look at the contributions from these sources over time. They mean more frequent wildfires, longer droughts, and deaths. Typical electricity emissions are 14,920 pounds per household annually. Coal is mined by two methods depending on where the deposit sits: opencast (surface) or deep (underground). For … Required fields are marked *. Be the first to rate this post. When you compare that, with the 1 billion years of clean available solar energy that we still have ahead of us, sounds like there is no sense to keep pushing on limited sources of energy that will be over in only a century. According to the NREL, depending on the various types of cooling systems used by thermoelectric coal, natural gas, or oil power plants, cooling can require different amounts of water, ranging anywhere from 150 to 50,000 gallons of water during a plant’s operational phase. The DOE notes that the U.S. emits 16 percent of global CO2 emissions, making it second in the world only to China, which contributes 28 percent of carbon dioxide emissions. As a world leader in carbon dioxide emissions, the U.S. is striving to make positive changes through policies and standards enacted through efforts like the Clean Power Plan. Finally, portable solar chargers installed with solar power banks are also a nice combination to provide an off-grid solution for those people that go camping or that travel a lot around the country. These actions, while seemingly insignificant, can add up in big ways. Some regulations in the EU market known as the EU Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), already require that manufacturers of solar panels finance the costs associated with collecting and recycling of expired modules. Renewable energy minimizes carbon pollution and has a much lower impact on our environment. Meaning around 130 % of growth in only 3 years. Carbon emissions and other greenhouse gases not only impact the environment, they affect public health and safety as well. These consequences and others may not last centuries to become real, but some may only take a few years. Weather is the primary cause for these disruptions. While you purchase solar energy it means that you are not generating GHG emissions to produce the electricity that you need, but it also means offsetting electricity production from other fossil power plants, reducing the GHG from both perspectives. While we make the transition to an almost complete renewable energy market, we must guarantee supplies of electricity different from fossil fuels. With solar power, we can reduce our carbon footprint and much more. This generator, powered by solar panels, produces no contamination as a diesel generator would in environments such as forests, beaches, and deserts where carbon dioxide should not be emitted. Renewable energy is one of the most effective tools we have in the fight against climate change, and there is every reason to believe it will succeed. The world's leading scientists have made it clear that to prevent the worst effects of climate change, there needs to be "rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented" changes to our energy … Germany was the greatest contributor in that year with 29 MT avoided and over 35,000 GWh produced. Greenhouse gases, which are produced when fossil fuels are burned, lead to rising global temperatures and climate change. Solar energy presents a set of advantages that can be used to offset carbon emissions and investing in solar for your house will also help your wallet. These numbers may fluctuate as nations find new sources of fossil fuels. A recent New York Times column seems to imply that renewable energy investments set back efforts to address climate changenothing could be further from the truth. There are thousands of planets in the universe, some with characteristics suitable for the existence of life and others so hot, so cold, or so toxic, that the existence of life as we know it may seem impossible. All sources of solar energy are sensitive to climate change , but existing literature focuses mainly on photovoltaic generation (PV) and on changes in solar irradiation, as it is the most relevant source . All Rights Reserved, Beyond ROI: Why Solar Might Just Be the Moral Energy Choice, How Energy Consumption Choice Impacts Climate Change, Emissions in Your State: The Case for Solar, Commercial Solar Installation & Installers, Portable Solar Panels, Camping Gear & Toys, 2018, the average U.S. household was using 914 kWh per month, Work on the computer for five to 10 hours. Destruction of the ozone layer is also a secondary consequence of climate change. Heating a home consumes a lot of energy, driving up emissions compared to other states. Society simply can’t afford to make changes around fossil fuel consumption at a later date. Sunlight comes down to the Earth. The problem requires earnest, long-term responses. In fact, 10 other countries produce more carbon emissions per capita than the U.S. with Qatar generating an average of 44 metric tons of CO2 per person. As such, global warming is not something we can stop tomorrow, and decisions made today about energy usage will have long-lasting impacts thousands of years into the future. As people use more energy to heat and cool their homes due to extreme weather, the impact on emissions is clear. Insects may end up laying their eggs on the panels, while birds end up hurt or dead as they crash into panels. As it currently stands, solar capacity installed in the U.S. alone can be expected to offset nearly 81 million metric tons of CO2 annually. And it’s having its moment in the sun. As technology improves in the renewable energy sector, efficiency rates increase and the cost per watt for installation will fall. We can estimate the reductions in carbon emissions by using solar panels thanks to the IRENA calculator. All of these contributions made by solar power plants are valuable in our fight against climate change, but what is climate change and how is it affecting our planet? However, not all states are equal when it comes to energy consumption and carbon emissions. States like Wyoming on the other hand use coal as the principal emissions source. On the contrary, one of the intrinsic advantages of solar panels is that they are a sustainable and clean source of electricity production, therefore they emit zero CO2 because the process to generate electricity is done at the molecular level without the need to burn any component with carbon. This is a natural process called Greenhouse Effect, and it has occurred over millions of years. "Giving more New Yorkers access to renewable energy can allow them to reduce their own energy bills while reducing stress on the grid and demand for fossil fuel power. The energy world is facing two challenges: providing affordable energy to a growing population and efficiently addressing climate change. Biofuels can help solve climate change, especially with a carbon tax ... we can increase our use of clean energy, particularly wind and solar power. The latest data available on the tool is from 2014 and still we have an idea of the great contributions of solar energy into the market. Everyday energy choices impact climate change and while it’s hard for many to believe that flipping a light switch off or walking to work or school can make any difference, these actions do help curb carbon emissions. The states that boast lower carbon emissions tend to be those generating non-carbon, cleaner electricity like hydropower or solar. Clean energy: Clean energy is perhaps the biggest issue to tackle, but also the most important. Some of the key indicators it is occurring have been presented on the US EPA website: “Average temperatures have risen across the contiguous 48 states since 1901, with an increased rate of warming over the past 30 years. For instance, the people from Portable Electric have designed a renewable power source solution for the off-grid sector called VOLTstack. Many RPSs include a solar carve out. In the wake of increasing concern over climate change, clean, renewable energy is seen as the wave of the future. However, the U.S. is not the only contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Dettinger notes that the sooner people can change to non-fossil fuel energy sources, the less CO2 will ultimately be in the atmosphere. Making choices to conserve energy can make a big difference. One of the best ways that most of us can contribute to the fight against climate change is for more people to hire solar companies to install solar panels on their homes. This translates into less burning and more materials that can be used for other purposes and mainly to the manufacturing of new or refurbished solar panels. Solar energy decreases greenhouse gas emissions Generating electricity with solar power instead of fossil fuels can dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, particularly carbon dioxide (CO 2). Experts from BP claim it will be more like 53.3 years. Currently, the aging electric grid is straining under increased demand without similar growth in transmission capacity. The burning of these fossil fuels is one of the largest contributing factors to climate change. When added together, we all contribute to climate change. According to the IPCC report from 2014, the energy supply sector accounted for almost 50% of all GHG emissions, making it the largest contributor to global GHG emissions. According to data from 2017, around 10 gigatons (Gt) of CO2 were emitted in China, over 5 GtCO2 in the US, around 2.5 GtCO2 in India and nearly 36 GtCO2 all over the world. Research and development at U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories like the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory is helping lay the groundwork for how we can design, build, and operate a 21st century grid. Another noticeable factor that affects carbon emissions is how the electricity is generated. And while solar energy is not the only solution to this complex problem, it is an effective way to help reduce carbon emissions. ... look at wind energy … Initiatives like these could lead to the production of 60 million new solar panels by 2030 according to IRENA report. This makes the U.S. reliant on other countries for much of its energy source. As the economy grows stronger, people travel more, and simply burn more gasoline, emissions increase. China also made incredible contributions that reach 20 MT of CO2, and 25,000 GWh of energy injected to the grid. At least as reflected in the peer-reviewed scientific literature, serious consideration of how climate change might affect solar and wind power generation has received very limited attention compared with the high degree of attention paid to climate change as a geophysical phenomenon. This extra heat changes all facets of the world’s weather systems – from hurricanes to floods, a warmer world means more extreme, impactful weather. Regions like Kenya make use of portable solar lanterns that can provide over 10 hours of light using a rechargeable battery powered by the sun. Due to this cumulative effect, even if we plan several generations ahead, the CO2 will still be in the atmosphere, making our planet warmer. While it is a reliable and constant source of energy, an aging and increasingly strained distribution network paired with more volatile weather patterns, is leading to more power outages. Climate change is a part of the human experience and will be for years to come. To reduce the effect of this sector on carbon emissions, it is necessary to lower the energy intensity by enhancing vehicle and engine performance and substituting oil-based products by natural gas, bio-methane, biofuels or hydrogen. This avoids the use of other older sources of light like kerosene lamps or candles in regions where there is no access to electricity, avoiding the risks of fire that can be harmful to the environment and for the communities. In a 2019 Gallup poll, only 22 percent of respondents said that the U.S. should place more emphasis on coal development with 50 percent saying there should be less emphasis. Twenty-nine states across the U.S. have adopted renewable portfolio standards (RPS), mandating increased use of energy from renewable energy sources. Source – Global Status Report 2018 REN 21. Meaning no carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide or nitrogen oxide needed to generate electricity that would be harmful for the human’s health. But why is the shift to renewable energy so important? In 2018, the average U.S. household was using 914 kWh per month, that’s 10,972 kilowatt-hours per year. As time is running out, the brightest minds in renewable energy are looking up. The world is turning more and more to renewable sources of energy – wind, solar power, and in some cases energy from flowing water – to fight climate change. Eight of the top 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 1998. Once in the atmosphere, Dettinger said, CO2 stays in the atmosphere for over a thousand years. Its effects can be seen everywhere across the globe. Increasing the impact of power outages is the growing interdependence of the electricity infrastructure with communications and information technology, fuels, water, and transportation. Currently, the cost per watt to install solar is around $3. Overall, the U.S. gets its petroleum from about 90 countries. Wyoming also has one of the lowest population densities in the country. Birds and insects may confuse the shining dark surfaces of a solar panel with water surfaces. This can easily be seen in the ozone hole in the South Pole. Increase in Total US Heatwave Days (Source – Center for Climate and Energy Solutions). Reduce air leaks and stop drafts by using caulk, weather stripping, and … That same year, the U.S. also emitted nearly 5.27 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Especially because some of them could even have toxic components like cadmium telluride, indium, gallium and selenide. Fossil fuel prices tend to fluctuate, sometimes wildly. Such solar panels can be connected to solar generators which allow the storage of power from the sun. In June of 2019, the Environmental Protection Agency finalized the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Rule. Energy supply sector GHG emissions by subsectors (Source – IPCC). Making the change over to solar energy reduces the need for burning fossil fuels. 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how can solar energy reduce climate change 2021