This extra heat changes all facets of the world’s weather systems – from hurricanes to floods, a warmer world means more extreme, impactful weather. With the Earth population’s Increasing without control, drought seasons will have a significant impact on the food supply of our nation, increasing the cost of food and possibly leading to famine in poor countries. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that on a national level, 41 percent of all freshwater withdrawals in 2015 were for thermoelectric power operations, primarily for cooling needs. Solar joins the major leagues. The rule repeals and replaces the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan which was never put into effect due to Supreme Court Intervention. In 2018, the average U.S. household was using 914 kWh per month, that’s 10,972 kilowatt-hours per year. Although it may not be obvious, there’s a direct connection … There are a few possible causes for this radical change and we can see them as follows: While solar irradiance fluctuations and volcanic eruptions are naturally occurring processes, all of the other causes are directly attributed to human activity. Solar panels are one of the best resources that we have available to fight 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. This is a natural process called Greenhouse Effect, and it has occurred over millions of years. As a reference, nearly 177 GW of installed capacity were available in 2014, but in 2017 around 402 GW of installed capacity are available worldwide. 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. Increase in Total US Heatwave Days (Source – Center for Climate and Energy Solutions). 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. Changing how industries are run or subsidised doesn’t sound like anything I can influence... can I? Thanks to its availability, battles over who controls or owns renewable resources (like sun and wind) are, at least for now, less likely – unlike with fossil fuels. Scientists Have Figured out When and How our sun will die, and It’s Going to be Epic, A Post-Pandemic World and A Solar Energy Revolution, Solar Officially Becomes the Cheapest Power Source for Most. … Required fields are marked *. PV panels do not require the use of water to generate electricity. Actually, under disaster conditions like hurricanes or floods, VOLTstack has the advantage of sustainably powering communities that have been affected by these natural disasters in moments when transporting fuel for diesel generators would be very costly and difficult. They avoid burning polluting dirty fossil fuels. The air and water pollution emitted by coal and natural gas plants is linked … 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. In order to better understand the impact of climate change on sea level rise (and therefore floods in coastal regions across the US) you can watch this amazing report from CNN that explains this further. This mineral reacts with water and air to form sulphuric acid and dissolved iron. The International Energy Agency (IEA), the Paris-based consortium of 30 countries, has told us in its flagship World Energy Outlook 2020 that solar-produced electricity is now the “cheapest electricity in history.” That seems like very good news, that is, until the actual expected impact of that fact is examined more closely. Twenty-nine states across the U.S. have adopted renewable portfolio standards (RPS), mandating increased use of energy from renewable energy sources. To get as much fuel out of the ground as possible steam, gasses, or chemicals are injected to oil flow more freely. In 2018, coal was responsible for 24 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. 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. They mean more frequent wildfires, longer droughts, and deaths. Improved public health. RV solar kits are commonly available nowadays because they are a reliable source of electricity when you go camping. When mining activities are done, exposed rocks are left behind containing the Sulphur-bearing mineral pyrite. Another noticeable factor that affects carbon emissions is how the electricity is generated. Explore why climate change is happening and why it’s important to take action now. Another way individuals can avoid carbon emissions is to use clean, renewable solar energy. The U.S. could generate much of its own electricity. The energy world is facing two challenges: providing affordable energy to a growing population and efficiently addressing climate change. Increasing the impact of power outages is the growing interdependence of the electricity infrastructure with communications and information technology, fuels, water, and transportation. Some of the light becomes heat, some is reflected away. Such solar panels can be connected to solar generators which allow the storage of power from the sun. 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. 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. For instance, the people from Portable Electric have designed a renewable power source solution for the off-grid sector called VOLTstack. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), one gigawatt-hour of solar generation can prevent the creation of 690 metric tons of CO 2 . We can estimate the reductions in carbon emissions by using solar panels thanks to the IRENA calculator. 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 emissions harm community health, especially in the disadvantaged neighborhoods that are near power plants. Especially because some of them could even have toxic components like cadmium telluride, indium, gallium and selenide. What Are the Consequences If We Do Not Act to Stop Carbon Emissions? Fossil fuels are sources of energy that exist because of decomposed plant or animal matter at high-pressure levels that accumulate underground over thousands of years. Either way, fossil fuels like oil will run out and nations will need to find alternative sources of energy. Risks posed by solar mostly include threats to biodiversity. Storms, nighttime, shade from trees or buildings, mean solar panels are not generating electricity 24/7. However, advances in battery technology like the Tesla Powerwall are making battery-backed solar systems more of a reality. However, not all states are equal when it comes to energy consumption and carbon emissions. Coal is the third largest primary energy source in the U.S.; it’s also the dirtiest energy source. 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. Fossil fuel power plants emit pollution into the air and water. 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. How are Fossil Fuels Extracted from the Ground? However, when calculating the amount of water used to clean solar panels, the number comes out to 2/3 cup of water per megawatt-hour. In 2010, China unveiled the first solar-powered air conditioner. Copyright © 2021 LetsGoSolar.com. Oil and natural gas are extracted by drilling wells into underground reservoirs. This can easily be seen in the ozone hole in the South Pole. As solar energy keeps growing every year, these numbers have already surpassed the estimated values. Models for How Climate Affects Solar and Wind Power Potential. For example, evidence suggests that the period of global cooling, known as the "Little Ice Age" (circa 1600-1850), may have been caused in part by a decrease in the Sun's energy … In other words, once we extract them all, there will be no more electricity. The accumulation of GHG creates a layer that reflects the UV radiation and concentrates the incoming heat from solar radiation in the atmosphere of the planet. This can be translated into 18 million tonnes from coal sources, 3.38 million from natural gas, and 9 million from oil sources. Biofuels can help solve climate change, especially with a carbon tax ... we can increase our use of clean energy, particularly wind and solar power. Last updated: January 8, 2021. Fossil fuel electricity consists in burning large amounts of carbon sources to generate the energy that the power grid demands through a thermodynamic process. 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. The report addresses remarkable impacts that have already been seen in American ground related to wildfires (Northwest), droughts (North and Southwest), hurricanes (South), floods (South East), water and transportation failures due to heavy snow, heat waves, and soil erosion (Midwest). Greenhouse gases, which are produced when fossil fuels are burned, lead to rising global temperatures and climate change. Massive oil spills and natural gas leaks can also wreak havoc on the environment. Across the U.S., the two biggest sources of electricity come from coal at 27.5 percent and natural gas at another 35.2 percent. 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. And if we don’t do it, nobody will.”. They also lead to a reduction of the UHI. In summer, however, the solar panels reduce the energy needed for air-conditioning (by 12%), thanks to the shading of the roof. Please rate it or leave us a comment. And while solar energy is not the only solution to this complex problem, it is an effective way to help reduce carbon emissions. When modules reach the end of their useful life, something must be done with the solar panel wastes. As the stratosphere cools down, and the atmosphere heats up, there is a warming-cooling dynamic effect that causes ozone loss. These variations are due to a number of factors: In Wyoming for example, the winter is cold with average low temperatures in January between 5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit. The world’s leading climate scientists now give us a little over a decade to stop and reverse climate change. People generally focus on the carbon emissions from these sources at the moment of electricity generation, but they seem to forget one thing, the effects during the extraction process. Insects may end up laying their eggs on the panels, while birds end up hurt or dead as they crash into panels. Actually, heat waves are considered one of the major causes of death from natural disasters, mainly due to heat strokes that are caused because the human’s body is unable to cool itself down due to the high humidity in the atmosphere. Energy supply sector GHG emissions by subsectors (Source – IPCC). Fossil Fuels: The Core of the Climate Change Crisis "The entire world economy has grown up as a fossil fuels based economy and yet fossil fuels are at the core of the climate change crisis…We must undertake a kind of ‘heart transplant’ replacing the beating heart of fossil fuel energy with an alternative based on low-carbon energy!" Solar power banks have also demonstrated to be more useful, safe and reliable under scenarios where the regular power grid is not available. There are approximately 600 EGUs at 300 facilities that could be covered by this rule. New sources of fossil fuels are becoming harder to find. 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. 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? Germany was the greatest contributor in that year with 29 MT avoided and over 35,000 GWh produced. Society simply can’t afford to make changes around fossil fuel consumption at a later date. Overall, the U.S. gets its petroleum from about 90 countries. 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. Renewable energy minimizes carbon pollution and has a much lower impact on our environment. He notes that a few decades ago, climate scientists would project how the climate would look in a hundred years. However concentrating solar power (CSP) and solar thermal can be affected by similar variables as well [114,115]. However, it is necessary to keep a constant cycle of extraction of the fossil source. 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. Therefore, scientists agree that there is no other natural source of explanation for this rapid increase in CO2 levels than human activity. But why is the shift to renewable energy so important? As technology improves in the renewable energy sector, efficiency rates increase and the cost per watt for installation will fall. How can a computer scientist contribute to renewable energy or in general to reduce climate change effects? Based on these results, the US report focuses on the imminent need to reduce the amount and speed of future climate changes by reducing GHG, replacing CO2, and emitting fossil fuel energy sources with zero-emission technologies such as geothermal, wind, biofuels, hydro and solar. 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. The best advantage of solar energy production for the environment is that there are absolutely no gas emissions attributed during the production of electricity. Your email address will not be published. As climate change expert Michael Dettinger states, there is overwhelming and unrefuted scientific evidence that human use of fossil fuels is causing global warming. Sunlight comes down to the Earth. If mass–produced, these devices could help reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions in China and other countries. "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. Electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrids are widely seen as one of the near-term climate change solutions in the transportation sector, especially when these vehicles are charged by a solar-powered carport or charging station. Clean energy: Clean energy is perhaps the biggest issue to tackle, but also the most important. As federal and state governments push to clean up their emissions act, solar energy is an attractive and realistic solution for many parts of the country that have a higher need to reduce their CO2 emissions. EVs are an increasingly important component of distributed solar power, helping American families reduce their carbon footprint by creating an end-to-end system that includes rooftop solar, home battery storage, and electric vehicles. Heating a home consumes a lot of energy, driving up emissions compared to other states. Reduce the amount of products you use. States like Wyoming on the other hand use coal as the principal emissions source. Solar and other forms of renewable energy generate electricity without polluting the environment. 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. One of the basic standards from any PV system is that the array will last at least 25 years. Alternating fossil fuels with the energy of our hottest star might be an excellent … Climate change is a part of the human experience and will be for years to come. For … This can save money for all ratepayers and allow us all to breathe cleaner air." Dr. Dettinger notes that once CO2 reaches the atmosphere, it stays there for thousands of years. Written by qualified solar engineer Aniket. Changes in the available amount of land and trees. These consequences and others may not last centuries to become real, but some may only take a few years. As heat concentrates further in the atmosphere, the contrary process occurs in the stratosphere. Your email address will not be published. In 2008, that number jumped to over $4; 11 years later that number is down to $2.57. As you might expect, the reason for this movement toward renewable energy is not to save or make money but is rather a direct commitment to saving and protecting our planet. 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. Innovative extraction methods including thermal, gas and chemical note that these methods lead to serious environmental threats. As technology continues to improve and efficiency rates increase, this amount of land will continue to decrease. But this amount of energy is so large that even small fluctuations in the Sun's output may cause significant climate change. With solar power, we can reduce our carbon footprint and much more. Many RPSs include a solar carve out. The Global fossil fuel reserves left are estimated to be 114 years for coal, 53 years for natural gas and 50 years for oil. 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. Unfortunately, 2015, 2016 and 2017 have been recorded as the hottest years in recent history, which is bad news for Greenland’s ice that has been continuously melting over the last decades. Statistics and data provided by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). 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. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), one gigawatt-hour of solar generation can prevent the creation of 690 metric tons of CO2. Pounds of CO2 emitted per million British thermal units of energy (Source – Energy Information Administration). Currently, the cost per watt to install solar is around $3. Electric vehicles, already increasingly common on the roadways, and rows of wind turbines generating clean energy are two of the more recognizable technological solutions for climate change… Coal contributes more than ” target=”_blank”>seven times the amount of CO2 emissions compared to solar. The time to reduce carbon emissions is now. 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. A problem that faces the entire planet requires united global action. 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. Utilising it to generate power can greatly reduce the emissions of CO2 by decreasing the demand for fossil fuels. These numbers may fluctuate as nations find new sources of fossil fuels. And it takes millions of years to accumulate the amount of fossil fuels that we will consume in 200 years. Dettinger notes that the sooner people can change to non-fossil fuel energy sources, the less CO2 will ultimately be in the atmosphere. Use this guide to find out how solar and renewable energy can reduce a person’s carbon footprint. The emission guidelines are focused solely on designated facilities defined as coal-fired EGUs with a capacity greater than 25 MW-net and commenced construction on or before January 8, 2014. About 644 percent of that electricity was generated by fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas, and petroleum. The study shows that, while large solar arrays can cause some significant regional changes in climate, “globally it will not affect the global climate much,” said Hu. 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. ecotality.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This will allow you to feel relaxed because your batteries will be charging with solar energy every day without using electricity from fossil fuel sources. When considering the future of the planet both for future generations to enjoy as well as the ability to sustain continued economic growth, renewable energy sources emerge as a logical response based not on short-term gain, but on principles that are both morally and economically sound. In short, society’s dependence on fossil fuels has led to a much harsher climate. Due to this ozone loss, the ozone layer depletes and leaves the ground wide open for ultraviolet radiation to reach our atmosphere. Reduces Air Pollution. In fact, having a neighborhood powered by community solar array is not only possible, it’s happening right now with community solar gardens popping up across the country. Climate change is happening, despite the verbiage and rhetoric of the deniers. And while solar energy is not the only solution to this complex problem, it is an effective way to help reduce carbon emissions. 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. Fossil fuels create a lot of pollutants. As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Watching the time evolution of carbon emissions from 1960 to 2017 leaves no doubt that we are the cause of climate change. Solar and other forms of renewable energy boast a very positive public opinion. 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. Sun to the rescue. The problem requires earnest, long-term responses. Solar and other forms of renewable energy will be around for billions of years until the Earth faces its demise. We can help protect our natural resources and reduce the amount of waste produced by following the three R's: "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle," according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A.). Carbon dioxide levels have oscillated around the 200 parts per million in our planet, historically reaching a maximum of 280 parts per million. Wyoming also has one of the lowest population densities in the country. According to NREL it would take about 0.6 percent of America’s total land area to supply all of the United States’ electricity needs. According to the report, if CO2 emissions are not cut 45% by 2030, then it will be unavoidable to reach 1.5°C increase in Earth temperature. Moreover, portable solar panels have very important uses in rural regions where access to electricity is limited. When everyone joins forces to make lifestyle changes and environmentally conscious choices, humanity can become part of the solution instead of the source of the problem. Electricity generated by fossil fuel power plants is available day and night, whether the sun is shining or the wind is blowing. Data from the International Atomic Energy Agency reveals that natural gas contributes more than 7 times the amount of CO2 emissions relative to solar energy. Its effects can be seen everywhere across the globe. Be the first to rate this post. The portable solar generators can then be used when needed and can also easily transported for use on the go. No votes so far! And it is not a surprise to jump to that conclusion when you take a look at CO2 emissions data from several countries. China also made incredible contributions that reach 20 MT of CO2, and 25,000 GWh of energy injected to the grid. 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. Wind energy is a key climate change solution To curb climate risks, we must cut emissions and deploy low-carbon energy sources like wind Wind turbines seen from a beach. This makes the U.S. reliant on other countries for much of its energy source. However, emissions are released during the manufacturing, materials transportation, installation, maintenance, decommissioning and dismantling of the solar energy systems. However, almost every step of climate science since the late 80s has made scientists realize again and again that the climate is changing more quickly than expected. 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. The first, and one of the most dramatic consequences, are rising water levels. In that same Gallup Poll, 80 percent of respondents said that the U.S. should put more emphasis on solar development. 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. 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. However, since the industrial revolution, carbon dioxide levels have increased to astronomic values close to 400 parts per million. Experts from BP claim it will be more like 53.3 years. While we make the transition to an almost complete renewable energy market, we must guarantee supplies of electricity different from fossil fuels. The Fourth National Climate Assessment Report from the U.S Global Change Research Program, released in November 2018, has announced an alarming top date to make a significant impact on carbon dioxide reductions. ACE is an emission guideline that uses heat rate improvement (HRI) as the Best System of Emission Reduction (BSER) for CO2 from a coal-fired electric generating unit (EGU). Whats more, renewable technologies can increasingly save customers money as they displace emissions from fossil fuels. Meaning around 130 % of growth in only 3 years. Nations will need to find states are then required to develop and submit their plans to regulate emissions in with... A reality scientists in the mining, this amount of land and trees thermal, gas and note... Air to form sulphuric acid and dissolved iron there are absolutely no gas emissions in China and other forms renewable! Are produced when a fuel is burned as a function of the future years of existence you. Increases in cost the atmosphere heats up, there is sunlight and space solar! These consequences and others may not last centuries to become real, but some may only a! 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