Updated: Dec 1, 2022
Climate change, greenhouse gases/effects, and renewable energy are words that you hear all the time in today's society. You see solar panels and wind turbines everywhere you go. But why?
Climate change is a long-term shift in a place's temperature and typical weather patterns. Weather patterns may become less predictable as a result of climate change.
Earth's greenhouse gases (for example: - carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and water vapour) trap heat in the atmosphere and warm the planet.
The greenhouse effect is a good thing. It maintains a moderate average temperature of 15 degrees Celsius on the globe, making life on Earth pleasant. The issue is that mankind's insatiable appetite for fossil fuels for energy is artificially amplifying the natural greenhouse effect. What's the end result? A rise in global warming, which is affecting the planet's climatic systems adversely.
So, the need for renewable energy that doesn't to global warming is more crucial than ever if mother Earth is to be protected.
Well, what are renewable and non-renewable resources
A non-renewable resource is a natural resource that cannot be replaced fast enough to keep up with consumption by natural means.
For decades, humans have considered non-renewable energy sources (mainly fossil fuels) as valuable sources of energy. Why?
Fossil fuels are very inexpensive to extract from the Earth and very easy to transport.
However, when fossil fuels such as oil and coal are burned, massive volumes of pollutants are released into the atmosphere. Our cars and factories are constantly emitting poisonous gases, degrading the ozone layer (which protects us from harmful UV rays emitted by the sun) and contributing to global warming.
Clearly, we need an alternative.
What is that alternative? Renewable resources of energy.
A renewable resource is a natural resource that will replenish itself to recover the portion that has been exhausted due to use and consumption.
While harnessing nature's power is typically considered an innovative technology, it has long been utilized for heating, transportation, lighting, and other purposes. The wind has propelled ships across the oceans and mills that process grain. The sun has offered warmth throughout the day and has assisted in the lighting of fires that have lasted well into the evening. However, during the last 500 years or more, mankind has increasingly resorted to dirtier, cheaper energy sources like coal and natural gas.
Iceland is the only country in the world where renewable sources generate 100% of its electricity and heat.
Why renewable energy?
In the oil industry, fortunes have been made, so this is a figure that few oil tycoons want you to know about. Clean energy jobs outnumber fossil fuel occupations by more than 2.5 to 1, and that number climbs to 5 to 1 when it comes to only coal and gas (excluding oil).
That means there are 5,000 jobs available in the renewable energy sector for every 1,000 persons engaged in the coal and gas industries.
Renewable energy creates more jobs for women too. A recent report shows that women hold 32% of renewables jobs, compared to just 21% in fossil fuel roles.
Switching to renewable energy worldwide could eliminate 4 to 7 million deaths from air pollution every year.
It saves us money. Renewable energy plants, once built, need less maintenance.
Renewable energy sources such as hydropower, wind, and solar, unlike fossil fuels, do not emit greenhouse gases directly. What if I told you that Global warming, according to scientists, is caused by greenhouse gas emissions? Who would have guessed?
Surveys show the world's resource base for geothermal energy is larger than the resource base for coal, oil, gas and uranium combined.
Examples of renewable resources are:
The energy of sunlight is harnessed and converted to electricity. More energy from the sun falls on the Earth in one hour than is used by everyone in the world in one year.
The wind has kinetic energy that can be converted into electricity.
The natural flow of water also offers kinetic power that can be harnessed as energy. Dams generate this type of energy, which accounts for over 54% of all renewable energy capacity on the planet. As a result, 18% of the world's electricity is generated in this manner.
These sources of power, particularly solar energy, are becoming increasingly available to the general population and, in the long term, are a more cost-effective option than traditional forms of power. Therefore, turning to renewable energy sources for your electricity needs is a win-win.
"Once you got a solar panel on a roof, energy is free. Once we convert our entire electricity grid to green and renewable energy, cost of living goes down." ~ Elizabeth May (Member of the Canadian House of Commons).