Climate Challenges – What role is energy technology playing in reducing the effects on climate change?

What is climate change? Climate change speaks to any significant change in the measures of climate lasting for an extended period of time. In other words, climate change includes major changes in temperature, precipitation, or wind patterns, among other effects, that occur over several decades or longer. Global warming speaks to the recent and ongoing rise in global average temperature near Earth’s surface. It is caused mostly by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Global warming is causing climate patterns to change. However, global warming itself represents only one aspect of climate change.

 (Only view first fifty minutes)

We all have noticed that climate change is happening. The temperatures have increased over the years. Statistical data have been released whereby it was noted that the earth’s average temperature has increased by 1.5 degrees in the past century. Although these changes seem small in nature overtime they will cause major changes in the climate and weather. There has been a great shift on the weather, in some parts of the world there has been heavy downpour, other parts drought, in recent years there has been major heat waves lasting for a longer period of time. The temperature on Earth heavily relies on the balance of energy in the planet.   We are seeing the earth’s ocean being affected by being warmer and the high level of carbon dioxide being absorbed by the ocean is changing the chemistry of the seawater.   Ice glaciers are melting and sea levels are rising. The culprit of this global warming is predominantly due to human activities which have caused to be released large amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. These greenhouse gases are derived from the burning of fossil fuels like coal and oil to produce energy. The greenhouse gases are emitted into the air which forms a blanket around the Earth, the energy is disbursed around the atmosphere and it gets warm. This “greenhouse effect” is vital for the survival on earth. Also, the clearing of land for agriculture, industry, and other human activities has increased the greenhouse gases. As a result of this built up of greenhouse gases it can change the Earth’s climate.

 

How is climate change being addressed globally?

 

As per the 2015 Paris Agreement of the United Nations Framework Convention on climate Change (UNFCCC) which states that every country commits to implement modifications to help lessen the impact of climate change. The target is meeting was to limit warming of 2 Celsius; this will be accomplished only by a reduction of 41% in total energy related to carbon dioxide emissions, and 70% reduction in power sector emissions. Every country will be facing different challenges due to their limited economic development, access to the developed energy infrastructure, access to cheap domestic fossil resources and renewable energy potential. The commitment includes the omission of fossil fuel and changing on how we use land. The energy challenge for the future will be to meet the challenge of achieving the world’s growing energy needs in a reliable and competitive way at the same time help to fight against climate change. The plan is to curtail the three quarters of global GHG emissions, which are energy related, as such major changes and transformations are necessary in order to satisfy the UNFCCC agreement. In order to meet the 2C deadline we must consider utilizing nuclear power as among the energy sources and technologies available today that could meet the climate-energy challenge. Transformation of the energy sector will play an important role in accomplishing to meet the 2C requirement; energy is the primary contributor to environmental warming gases, but the energy transition plays a key factor to a cleaner and more secure energy future. The transitions of energy companies by implementing improvements in low-carbon energy technologies are dropping costs of renewable energy. The implementation for onshore wind and new utility-scale solar panel installations has improved the decrease of the impact on climate change.   Action that must be taken in order to achieve the 2C requirement is to ensure that we address the coal and gas fired power plant emissions since coal and gas power plants generate 63% of today’s global electric supply. The use of renewable sources might solve this problem instead of using fossil fuels. In California, the utility company PG&E made a commitment that they by 2031 will be 55% using renewable energy, and will be closing their Diablo Canyon Plant. The use of renewable resources is one of the ways to fight against climate change.

Another option will be the utilization of nuclear energy to mitigate further the cause of global warming. The application of nuclear energy where it utilizes electron beam irradiation, are effective for the removal of gaseous pollutants, including harmful gases such as dioxide, nitrogen oxide which are emitted in Carbon fuel power plants. Nuclear energy can be useful to mitigate the problem of pollution in the ocean. Recently it was reported that European scientists developed a multi-band gas sensor (i.e. Miregas) which can be used to detect poisonous gases in the atmosphere. This device uses a novel light source to detect dozens of emissions effectively. They hope that this gas sensor will be able to help to reduce global warming by detecting harmful gases at a faster rate; this project is estimated to be in its final stage of completion by 2020.

 

Climate change in the era of Trump

Many countries have taken action to accelerate their plans to adopt procedures to address climate change in the wake of president elect Donald Trump. President elect Donald Trump during his campaign has on numerous occasions took the stance that any increase in global warming is not due to human intervention today, president elect Donald Trump has changed his outlook and commented that he thinks that there is some connection between human activity and climate change. Trump has made energy one of the hottest topics in his run for presidency. He has committed to undo President Obama climate change initiatives. One of the ways is that Trump has declared that he will fight to remove the U.S. from the agreement signed at the UNFCCC by President Obama. Trump has stated that he will throw out the Clean Power Plan, where it was implemented in order to reduce carbon pollution from power plants, predominantly those plants which were using coal. Trump also has stated that he will bring back coal and will create many jobs; this action will put U.S. back many years in the fight against climate change. Canada has announced earlier this week that it is planning to move up the transition from traditional coal power to clean energy by 2030 and will result in an improvement of air quality and an increase in health of the Canadians citizens. China has become the forefront in satisfying their commitment to clean energy by the production of huge amounts of solar panels. Countries are being held accountable for their commitment to implement proper strategies to deliver a greener future. It is estimated that 60% of global energy demand growth over the next 20 years will come from either gas or zero-carbon fuels such as wind and solar. If U.S. goes back to revitalizing the use of fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and natural gas it will mitigate the work that has been done to date to provide clean energy.

 

 

, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

8 Responses to Climate Challenges – What role is energy technology playing in reducing the effects on climate change?

  1. Hakeem Marshall December 2, 2016 at 12:27 pm #

    Reading about climate change always sends me up a wall. I get into an intense rage only to be then followed by a quiet sorrow. Climate change is, without a doubt, the biggest issue humanity faces today. It is an absolute crisis. We are seeing the effects of it every day. California is suffering through a record drought. Wildfires are happening at a rate and fury that will eventually be too great to manage. We will be spending trillions of dollars over the coming decades building up infrastructure to challenge climate change and, ultimately, it will be a lost cause if we do not, as a species, actively take this on. Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately, climate change has become such a big thing that it is impossible to ignore anymore.

    World leaders fearing the impending doom that would come with climate change have taken steps to combat it. The biggest and most well known of the attempts to combat climate change is the Paris Agreement. The Paris Agreement is a multinational deal with the aims of promoting green alternatives to out now counter-intuitive fossil fuels and other environmentally friendly policy. This deal is a great thing and will go quite a ways to solving the climate crisis. However, this does not mean that all is well and we should just sit on our laurels and wait. While the Paris agreement is a good first step we need to be much more than we currently are.

    The climate crisis has many sources and the United States is one of the biggest perpetrators. While everyone rags on China for its unfriendly environmental practices, the US is actually worse in this regard. The carbon footprint of one person in the US is the equivalent of 5 Chinese people. This is because our country is built in this manner. The US economy encourages over consumption and anti-ecological habits. The clearest showing of this would be in the American fetish for driving. American life is built around cars in a way that most countries are not. It is basically impossible to do things in most of America unless you have a car. This is an issue if we really want to pursue and environmentalist future. It will likely be one of our biggest expenses. We have to completely rebuild our cities. In their current they are not very efficient and environmentally damaging. We need to build our infrastructure around strong public transportation and green technology. We need a solar panel on every building in this country and electric cars filling up the streets.

    Our next challenge comes from not just climate change but its critics; most notably our new President Elect Donald J. Trump. Donald Trump and his cabinet are strong climate change deniers. They do not care about the future of our country and our world. They are either contrarians and/or shills for the energy tycoons. Either way this spells doom for our future. Preibus has told the media that climate denial is an official part of his cabinets message. Donald has said that he plans on tearing up the Paris agreement Day 1 of the presidency. This is dangerous and honestly I am not sure the extent of the damage that he will cause but I know what we must do. We have to resist Trump’s and his dangerous policy. Trump could potentially ruin any future our planet has. We must resist Donald Trump and his anti-climate positions for the future of our world.

    In conclusion, climate change is the biggest issue of our time. Any world issue that we currently deal with will be multiplied in its strength. We all live on this planet and we all have a responsibility to take care of it. No one else is going to do it. We have to be the bulwark that protects our future.

  2. Gregory Medina December 2, 2016 at 5:07 pm #

    Recently, National Geographic created a documentary featuring the United Nations Ambassador of Peace and Actor Leonardo DiCaprio. Through his narration, DiCaprio traveled throughout the globe on a mission to understand and spread awareness about the effects of climate change and their causes. Moreover, for a brief period of time, National Geographic allowed the documentary to be viewed online for free in order to spread the message of the film about climate change. Regardless, as stated, the new President elect, Donald Trump, acts as a danger to what the United States has done in terms of fighting climate change. First, he plans to put business, especially big business first over the environment. Second, he plans to remove the United States from any climate change related agreements such as the Paris Climate Agreement. Finally, he legitimately does not believe that climate change is at all a real thing. On the other hand, though Donald Trump may be able to say all these things, he still cannot stop the momentum for environmental protection.

    The United States is a large contributor to climate change, along with China. This is due to the fact that the United States is addicted to fossil fuels from the dependence of cars as a primary source of transportation, the burning of fuels for electricity, and the production of goods. Moreover, the United States can also be a major role in climate preservation if it takes the right measures to do so, and participating in the Paris Climate Agreement is one of the ways. On the other hand, Trump is a danger to any progress that the United States has made to protect the environment as a government. Even before he has stepped into office, he is already shocking the public on his pick for the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, Myron Ebell, an individual who personally does not believe in climate change. Though the government perspective may change, the people will not. More people are answering the call to protecting the environment, for example, the protestors at Standing Rock protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline. Such is a trend that people are moving towards in order to lessen the effects of climate change. Fundamentally, if the government decides not to aid in efforts to fight climate change, at least the people are willing to.

    Other than having a mind set on conserving and being efficient with energy, people can bend business to follow trends that protect and conserve the environment. For example, cows produce a tremendous amount of methanol, as stated by DiCaprio in the National Geographic documentary. In the United Stated, cows attribute to a large fraction of global warming due to the fact that they are now part of a supply chain. Cows are mass produced in order to keep up with the large demand for beef in the United States. If the demand for beef were to drop, then so will the production of beef. Thus, if the production of beef were to drop, then the effect cows would have on the environment would also drop. Such a phenomenon is known to work due to the fact that it is a basic principle of economics known as supply and demand. Consumers can reduce the affects of climate change and protect the environment just by reducing the demand for environmentally harmful goods and demanding more environmentally friendly goods.

    Nonetheless, though the world is addicted to fossil fuels, the world is slowly realizing that change is necessary. Though governments may not fully comply with climate change due to the push of big business, the people are ready to do their jobs. Moreover, people can easily push producers towards climate friendly goods just by demanding such goods.

  3. Sahnera Spruill December 2, 2016 at 6:41 pm #

    Global warming is one of the biggest most controversial topics on the list of controversial topics. Many people say that it’s a myth, or they say that it is real but humans have nothing to do with it. But the evidence proves to us that global warming is real and we are the reason, any person who has done any research longer than 30 minutes on the topic on the topic has enough knowledge to piece together the presence of global warming and it’s contributing factors. Denial of such a major issue just seems like a way to stall any action, and will continue to do so until it’s really too late. What stood out to me in this post is when he stated, “Statistical data has been released whereby it was noted that the earths average temperature has increased by 1.5 degrees in the past century.” I find this interesting because 1.5 degrees in one century seems so insignificant that it’s remarkable. Remarkable that it is in fact a problem. Though global warming is taking a toll on our environment and safety, global warming could also be the biggest health threat of the 21st century, according to the Lancet, a British medical journal. As the temperatures rise, a stage could be set for a public health disaster. The reason being is that global ecosystems and food production, causing more extreme weather events and wildfires, threatening coastal communities with accelerated sea level rise, creating the perfect conditions for deadly diseases to spread. The reason for this is because climate change is increasing the number of animals that carry disease. Insects like fleas, ticks, mosquitos thrive in hot weather. Lyme disease is an example of an illness that we can obtain from ticks. Working to reverse or stop the increase in global temperatures is not just important for the environment, but human health as well.
    Fortunately, global leaders are finally stepping up to tackle these threats. Last year 196 countries signed the landmark Paris Agreement. This agreement aims to decrease or limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5-2 degrees Celsius above pre- industrial levels by reducing carbon emissions. The video about Trump and his stance on the global warming situation has me pretty shocked. Donald trump obviously doesn’t see global warming as an issue and has been very clear about it by saying that he wants to stop all payments of the United States tax dollars to UN global warming programs. I don’t disagree with him but I definitely do not agree. I think that the Paris agreement is a great contribution and worth it but I don’t fully understand his stance enough to develop a disagreeing opinion. For now, it’d be beneficial for people to realize that we can do small individual acts that may have a large contribution. If carbon dioxide is the primary cause in the climate change, and if carbon dioxide is released when fossil fuels burn, we simply need to cut back. By using less energy in our homes, driving less, etc., each person can make a small difference. Millions of small differences will eventually add up to be one big difference. We can power our homes with renewable energy, buy different light bulbs, shrink our carbon profiles in general.

  4. Joe Murdaco December 7, 2016 at 3:44 pm #

    A big issue in the recent election was global warming. There has been controversy for decades on this problem. The debate is whether or not global warming is caused by humans or if it is a natural occurrence. I mean we did have an ice age and global warming event in the past before humans were around. Does that mean that we are not causing the problems now? Well if we all agreed on this idea we could work to fix it, or not. At least we can agree that the earth is in fact changing temperatures. A big difference between Republicans and Democrats is that one believes global warming is caused by humans and the other believes that it wasn’t. Obama has worked to manage the emissions from factories and cars to limit greenhouse gases from being emitted into the air. Trump has recently changed his stance on the issue. It will come down to the congress to determine how we approach this problem. Some people believe we have past the point of no return. I do not know enough about the issue to make claim but we should continue to look at the issue. With the entire government (president, senate, house of reps and Supreme Court) being ruled by the Republicans, we may not see a big move to fix the issue.
    Renewable energy helps in many ways. We become more efficient, save money and save the planet. We have all heard of “greenhouse gases” and that our ozone is diminishing. Burning fossil fuels is the biggest cause of this. We need to find ways of saving our planet whether it be electric cars or something similar. They would not release toxic gases into our atmosphere. I love the idea of electric cars and solar powered cars even though it will cost the country some jobs. Although the earth will not be destroyed in our lifetime, it is extremely important for us to keep in mind that the future generations will have problems. It may take millions of years for our earth to get destroyed but we can stop that from happening altogether.
    I think that the world leaders are reluctant to say the truth. Obama, Trump and others do not want to face the fact that the world will inevitably cease to exist. However, it will not be for millions and millions and millions of years until this happens. Some people believe that we should not focus on this problem because it is not impacting our lives today. I am not sure how we can really fix this problem besides working to move towards solar power and electric cars. I am looking forward to see how everything works out in the next few years but I know that people are working to fix this problem. It may be years until we get rid of cars that run on fossil fuel but that day will come. Will it fix this growing problem? No one knows for sure but it is worth a shot.

  5. Vannesa Martinez December 9, 2016 at 8:43 pm #

    No one can ignore the idea of climate change anymore. It is ever so present in society today that people are waking up to realize that the more idle we stay, the more nothing will get done and the worse earth’s conditions will become. Now that government across the world are recognizing this issue, they are putting it into effect by mandating changes in the resources that contribute to much of the climate change that our planet is now facing.
    For me, climate change has always been such a worrisome topic because corporations or the government are not doing anything to change our habits of energy production or seek new ways of obtaining energy but less invasive to the planet. It has reached to the point where our planet is to the point of dying and now officials are started to see that now it is fundamental to change our energy consumption ways. Climate change is the connection to global warming as to why seasonal temperatures or weather conditions are so erratic now, because our environment has begun to slowly enter a point of instability. It is important that action be taken now before it is too late. I believe that the 2015 Paris Agreement is an important step that countries around the world can take to help better protect our environment from further damage by requiring a method of change in obtaining energy. A 41% decrease in energy related to carbon dioxide emissions followed by a 70% reduction in power sector emissions are what the countries agreed to help lessen the impact of the climate change that is currently undergoing. With the advancements in technology in a number of sectors today, the introduction of a new technology in environmental change is beneficial for everyone. It is a necessity if we want our planet to progress down the correct path of a healthier and less carbon dioxide filled environment. With special solar and wind panels built to create energy saving ways has already helped to decrease the impact on climate change. Another viable solution would be utilizing nuclear energy to inhibit the creation of more global warming. Using a wide variety of resources to eliminate the harmful energies that have been created by using an electron bean irradiation to remove gaseous pollutants like dioxide and nitrogen oxide is another way to go forward and help the environment.
    As it was a popular topic of debate among the road to presidency, and as he is set to take the role of president in about a month, it is worrisome as to how he will respond with the topic of climate change or to progressive or setbacks that he will take. Early on in his campaign, he stated that he did not believe that the increase in global warming was due to humans, that we did not cause this issue. However, his stance has not been firm and now believes that there is some minute connection between our human activities being responsible for climate change. My great fear is that he does not continue changing his viewpoint about firmly wanting to help out the environment and changes his beliefs once again. Since his stance about the topic was not firm, there still goes to say that he can potentially change his mind set about human relationship to climate change. With Trump soon ready to take power I hope he continues on with the initiative of the Paris Agreement, although it seems rather unlikely, and take into consideration the idea of adopting new technology to help decrease the existing emissions and fuels used and convert energy in a healthier and viable means.

  6. Joseph Padula December 9, 2016 at 11:03 pm #

    Here is another critical issue that must be addressed by the current and future generations because its impact will affect everyone who lives and will live on this planet. Climate change is apparent and has been for over a century, contaminating our atmosphere with gases that will eventually kill us. However, since it did not affect the people doing the pollution in begin with it has now become our generations problems since we are feeling the full effects of this methodology. With water levels raising with the increase of population of humans, it is inevitable to realize that something bad will happen when we don’t have enough space to fit the population of the world. In our country alone, besides states like California and Nevada who are directly affected by the climate changes, the rest of the country has swept the idea of climate changes under the rug. It just so happens that it has become such an issue the rug is not big enough and the issue must be addressed. By utilizing renewable energy such as wind, solar, kinetic, hydroponic, and other resources we can help stop the damage we are doing to our own planet. The Earth can sustain itself but with our interference it is making it impossible, essentially killing the Earth very slowly.

    This is when the uses of electronic vehicles and smart houses come into play. As this article shows us by using an alternative power source for cars, houses, etc. we help improve the climate issue drastically. Canada has even announced by 2030 they will officially by a full transition to clean energy besides coal powered fuel, which is the lead case of air population. It is even said that “60% global energy demand growth over the next 20 years will come either from gas or zero-carbon fuels such as wind and solar.” This is a hug step for not only our nation but the world as a whole because the world’s leaders have finally realized the impact climate change is having on our everyday lives and it must be taken care of. The neglect to these issues will result in an uninhabitable planet, which benefits no one.

    Although there is some speculation about the current President’s use of clean energy, I do believe after witnessing the whole world, at least the major powers of the world, the US will strongly reconsider their current decision to still use coal fuel for power. All there needs to be is another brilliant mind to out their motivated by the current technology trends to invent or implement a new way to use renewable energy. I apologize for reiterating my previous point above, but it is undeniable that innovations such as the driverless care and smart home technology to start the ball rolling to use this technology over all spectrums. Company’s such as Jaguar, Tesla, Uber, and a few other car companies are already paving the way to the future with their revolutionary vehicles. These are the first of many and will change the way the whole world works. So it is our job as the new generation to take a stand and ensure that our planet is being preserved while also excelling our horizons.

  7. Daniel Alvarez February 10, 2017 at 11:04 am #

    Climate change represents major changes in temperature, precipitation, or wind patterns, among other effects, that occur over several decades or longer. Global warming speaks to the recent and ongoing rise in global average temperature near Earth’s surface. It is caused mostly by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Global warming is causing climate patterns to change. That is a fact and one that President Donald Trump choses to ignore. He claims “temperature will rise and temperature will fall that called weather.” Actual scientist who study the earths atmosphere and meteorologists who have access to weather data from centuries back realize there is something significant going on. The earth’s oceans are becoming significantly warmer and carbon dioxide levels are rising in the oceans which is affecting the chemistry of the seawater. This is due to human activity. We must take steps forward to reduce emissions and find alternative sources of energy. With the election of the new president we have taken a step back as far as climate relations are concerned. With someone who believes climate change is a hoax in a position of great power he can effectively reduce the productively of corporations such as the EPA and ignore or “renegotiate the Paris agreement.” This agreement can effectively reduce total energy related to carbon dioxide by 41%. In addition he has states to throw away the Clean Power plan, where it was implemented in order to reduce carbon pollution from power plants, predominantly those plants which were using coal. Trump also has stated that he will bring back coal and will create many jobs; this action will put U.S. back many years in the fight against climate change. Canada has announced earlier this week that it is planning to move up the transition from traditional coal power to clean energy by 2030 and will result in an improvement of air quality and an increase in health of the Canadians citizens and who wouldn’t want that. China has become the forefront in satisfying their commitment to clean energy by the production of huge amounts of solar panels. If Trump does what he says he will it will reverse many of the steps towards a better environment for our future. Trumps renegotiation of the Paris climate agreement is solely for the benefit of the 190 countries involved and trump does not have the authority to withdraw from it but he can ignore it, which will most likely cause a domino effect with the many other countries involved.
    In conclusion, Mother Nature is very powerful and very giving, we must do our part to give back to our planet so that we many have better lives. We must do our part to protect Mother Nature or we will reap the consequences. Donald Trump does will be outnumbered in this fight and we must continue to consolidate on emissions no matter what laws or regulations are put in place to combat the protection of earth and nature because as a species, it is our mother. Companies are taking initiative to use less harmful sources of energy such as tesla, Dell, Johnson & Johnson, and IBM who has had environmental policies since 1971.

  8. Thomas Batelli February 24, 2017 at 1:41 pm #

    There is not a more perfect time to talk about climate change than right now with these unbelievable record-high temperatures. Over the last few weeks, groundbreaking warmth has caused trees to start budding and birds out and about. Not only that, but record high temperatures were seen in Detroit, where a 133-year high record temperature was broken this past Sunday, where residents saw a temperature of 66 degrees in the middle of February. It is obvious that climate change is a real and occurring presence in modern day society, but perhaps we are not always inclined to prioritize it?

    With that being said, it is popularly known that the issue of “Global Warming” is sometimes considered a “conspiracy”, and it may be considered so because it can have negative repercussions on businesses and the convenience of their production. Scientifically, global warming has presets on the entire ecosystem that we ungratefully know and love. Natural causes and human pollution, such as greenhouses gasses, all have negative reactions on our planet and the atmosphere surrounding it. It is visible to everyone residing on this planet that the Earth has undergone drastic repercussions due to the issue of climate change over the last hundreds of years.

    Many people do not want to face the reality of climate change because it would have a negative reaction on their production or business; if heavier guidelines were implemented by, perhaps the Environmental Protection Agency, business standards may be negatively affected and business owners could experience a decline in profits. An interesting parallel to this would be the Dakota Access Pipeline; although the pipeline will create more jobs as well as a decrease in oil sales, there are still many negative effects it holds on native Americans residing their and the planet and ecosystem itself. Climate change needs to be a larger matter of importance not only here in the United States, but globally.

    On another note, I am not entirely sure of how I feel about the utilization of nuclear energy to mitigate further the cause of global warming. It is an interesting approach and I understand that there are potential benefits from this in regards to the removal of gaseous pollutants, however, I am not sure of the efficacy. With many countries dedicated to the revolution of clean energy, it is important that we, as privileged Americans, continue to more forward with our implementations to deliver a greener future.

    I thought the video of Donald Trump and his campaign on Climate Change was interesting. Donald Trump wants to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement and it is an interesting perspective. Market trends should not hold priority over the protection of our planet and atmosphere. There is a lot of potential for climate change once the economy is stimulated and I understand that sometimes you might have to take a step backwards before you can move a few ahead, but I am hopeful all decisions make will be for the benefit of the environment as well.

Leave a Reply