The role of energy in climate change


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Mitigating and adapting to climate change is one of the most serious concerns of our time. The issue of energy, or more precisely, our total energy consumption and our dependence on fossil fuels, lies at the heart of these issues. To successfully reduce global warming, the world must use energy more efficiently, focusing on green energy sources for transportation, heating and cooling. A few weeks ago, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published an alert that was taken into account with the support of 195 member states of the United Nations. In 2019, atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations reached their highest peak in the past 2 million years, and those major greenhouse gases (methane and nitrogen dioxide) were the highest in the last 800,000 years; Moreover, the average global temperature has risen at an unprecedented rate compared to the previous two thousand years in the last 50 years. Scholars and researchers have also developed a summary for policy makers, outlining key concepts. “Over the past 50 years or so, the global increase in temperature and some other aspects of the climate have been an unequivocal cause of increased anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions,” said Keri Emanuel, professor of atmospheric sciences at MIT. In an interview with EE Times, Emmanuel explained that the biggest danger is armed conflict resulting from political instability mostly due to lack of food and water. “This is also the view of the US Department of Defense, which is why it considers climate change to be among the most important current national security risks.” There is increasing worldwide acceptance of the reality of climate change, but gaps in public understanding remain. Emmanuel noted that ideological beliefs and misinformation prevent the problem from spreading to the detriment of the entire planet. Carbon dioxide emissions Carbon dioxide (CO2) consists of a single carbon atom covalently bonded to an oxygen atom on both sides. Carbon dioxide has many states of vibration and rotation due to this structure, which makes it a good greenhouse gas. It can absorb many wavelengths of light and energy emitted by the Earth and convert them into heat energy. Under normal conditions, this gas is considered vital. Carbon dioxide molecules mainly act as a filter, that is, they are transparent to the light from the sun, but they absorb radiation emitted by the Earth with a longer wavelength. Unfortunately, human activity such as transportation, electricity production, and industries have introduced excessive amounts of this gas and turned the Earth into a giant greenhouse. Logging and livestock also contribute to the extreme global warming effect. Trees help regulate climate by absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Professor Kerry Emanuel Energy and Opportunity Addressing global warming requires significant and sustained reductions in the concentration of carbon dioxide, which remains in the atmosphere for thousands of years, and other greenhouse gases over time until all carbon is removed, building global clean energy supply chains and developing technological innovation. It is difficult to convince the international community to care about climate change when there are so many other pressing issues. “I agree, but nearly all of these major concerns are intertwined. One example of this is doing something about the 8.7 million premature deaths annually that the World Health Organization estimates are caused by respiratory problems caused by burning fossil fuels. Combating this requires many of the same strategies and new technologies to combat climate change.Another example is world population.A large part of the projected increase in greenhouse gas emissions comes from an increase in population, however experience shows that increased per capita wealth can lead to lower population growth (for example, through women’s education).Increasing per capita wealth requires increased per capita energy consumption, and back to the strong overlap with the problem of global warming.Decarbonized energy should not only replace current power generation, but should also absorb the large expected increases in energy consumption, Emmanuel said. He added, “We have some great examples to learn from. France, Sweden and Belgium are among a handful of countries that have been able to completely decarbonize their electricity generation, and they have done so very quickly – in about a dozen years. This was in response to the first oil crisis in Middle East and was designed to achieve energy security, not to address global climate change, which was not really on anyone’s radar. This was largely done using a combination of nuclear and hydropower. In principle, we can do the same now on a global scale. Bigger, but using nuclear power with other renewables (such as solar and wind) in addition to hydro. But we have to go further than these previous examples and decarbonize transportation, industry and agriculture.” Emmanuel suggested that there are two things that governments can do right away. The first is to tax the obvious health and climate externalities of fossil fuels, so that their cost more accurately reflects the actual cost of producing and burning that fuel. But this will not be enough. Governments should also stimulate innovations in energy production and storage, and carbon capture and storage to stimulate the rapid development and deployment of carbon-free energy and carbon capture technology. They should do so in ways designed to actually get around the problem and not bend toward ideologically driven solutions. “Only the markets are responding very slowly,” Emmanuel said. To avoid another increase in the greenhouse effect, our world must embark on a true decarbonization revolution, that is, a low-carbon or zero-carbon energy transition based on renewable energy sources. This process must take place not only at the technological level, but also at the cultural and social level, which requires significant changes in our daily routine. Energy-related greenhouse gas emissions can also be reduced by lowering overall energy consumption through energy conservation and increased energy efficiency, such as by increasing home insulation or using more environmentally friendly transportation. However, in order to avoid the worst effects of climate change, this shift must happen quickly. The more greenhouse gases we emit into the atmosphere, the less likely we are to be able to curb the harmful effects of climate change. Climate change is the biggest challenge facing our generation. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions will be achieved through concrete and shared political commitment at the global level and will need to be supported by technological innovation. .


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