Tag Archives: Climate Change

Climate Change: Melting Cities

By 2100 the Persian Gulf could experience temperatures exceeding 170 degrees Fahrenheit causing the area to become uninhabitable. Areas within the Persian Gulf, such as Doha, Abu Dhabi, and Bander Abbas, some of the richest cities in the world, would have to be abandoned. However, extreme heat waves are not limited to the Persian Gulf. In degrees Fahrenheit, by 2100, while not as extreme, New York City could on average experience temperatures exceeding 81.8 degrees , LA could experience 80.9 degree weather, London may experience 68.7 degree weather, and South Africa City could experience 79.9 degree weather. These temperatures may not seem dramatic, but that are roughly 8.6 degrees hotter than the current average temperature. In the year 2100, 3 out of 4 people could face deadly heatwaves. By 2080, heatwaves in Europe could kill over 150,000. The increase in temperature is a worldwide, and current issue. For example, in 2016, limited to the UK, 1,661 people died in one day because of a heatwave. While action is being taken to lower emissions, lowering emissions will not prevent the incoming weather. Without mitigating dangers of rising temperature, whole areas of land will have to be abandoned.

Heat waves, and the rise of temperature in general, is especially bad in cities because of the urban heating effect. The urban heating effect states that because of the large amount of human activity within in cities, cities become hotter than the surrounding rural areas. For example, pavement absorbs large amounts of heat then releases it at night, inhibiting surroundings from cooling down. As a result of generating, and absorbing more heat, cities are also known as urban heat islands. Currently the primary method of countering heat waves is cooling centers, public places where A/C is provided. However, cooling centers are an out of date method that offers limited assistance. Cooling centers do not address the issue of entire cities becoming over heated, but instead cool individual buildings. These centers do not help people keep cool in their own homes. For example, imagine the following scenario:

There is a 67-year-old man who lives alone, makes barely enough money to sustain himself, and cannot afford an A/C. On his day off from work, the temperature is 98 degrees Farrenheight, so he decided to head to local library, a cooling center, to cool. However, as the man makes his way to the door his knee gives out and he collapses on the floor. Unable to call anyone, the man lays on the floor until he passes out from heat exhaustion. Luckily, the man’s neighbor, who checks on him every day after work, found the man on the floor and called an ambulance.

As temperature increases, scenarios like the one suggested may not end with someone fainting, but possibly death. People should not have to worry about dying the following summer, because they cannot not afford A/C. With this said, a potential solution to keeping cities cool is the creation of green areas. Green areas create more shade, mitigate the amount of heat pavement absorbs, and act as air filters. Unlike cooling centers, green areas work on a larger scale, and address more issues. The shade created my greens areas helps people keep cool. Green areas can be used in combination with cooling pavement so cities do not absorb as much heat. Moreover, green areas address the original issue and cause of climate change by filtering out carbon emissions, thus purifying the air. To take green areas a step further, cities could be turned into forest cities. Forest cities make plants a part of the cities by covering large portions of cities in green foliage. As one giant forest, cities could combat the urban heat island effect. However, if such as action were ever enacted, low-income neighborhoods must be refurbished first. It is unjust to allow those who cannot afford A/C to struggle to survive the impending heatwaves, while those who have some protective measures to gain more protection.

The following video explains how heatwaves work and affect people:

Rural areas do not the issue of the urban heating effect, but have to combat drought due to rise in temperature, and heatwaves. In 2012 farmers in the West and Midwest, due to a drought, loss billions of dollars in crops. However, as temperature increases it may not simply be money that is lost, but vital amounts of food. A potential solution to drought is the use of “spongy” soil. “Spongy” soil could help farmers combat both drought and sever-storms because it retains more water, and reduces run off. “Spongy” soil does not have to be limited to farmers. In urban setting, “spongy” soil could help with growing, and maintaining green areas. Moreover, the soil would complement vertical farms, which already offer a more controlled environment for farming. The benefit of the soil is not that it reduces the needs of plant life, but increases the efficiency of how resources, such as water, are used.

While climate change issues, like sea level rising, and an increase in frequency of hurricanes are prevalent, they are effects of the global temperature rising. People can move in order to survive hurricanes, and flooding; however, temperature rising will affect the entire world. Temperature rising will be a continuing issue because of how long it takes carbon dissipate from the air. We may not be able to stop the rising temperature, but we can mitigate the effects.

Politics on Climate Change

Politics and its role in climate change affects each and every one of us in the United States. Politics affects how many of the citizens and residents in our country view topics and hold opinions, and more importantly, affects our ability to take any action towards a cause. In the topic of climate change, we have a man in charge who believes that the whole concept of climate change is a “hoax” and does not really exist. While many (rational) residents in the US know that be far from the truth and understand the gravity of the situation in terms of the perils of climate change, there are still plenty of people that listen and follow what people like the man in charge think and believe. Under Barack Obama’s administration, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed the Clean Power Plan, in efforts of reducing emissions to reduce our carbon footprint and reduce the climate threat. The idea, unveiled mid-2015, was to reduce the carbon dioxide that was emitted from power generators and lead to cleaner air and not lead to further global warming. Under the Obama administration, climate change was not taken lightly, as the EPA combated and regulated greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. Under the Trump administration, the EPA is seeking to replace Obama’s Clean Power Plan and its rules as they are “bad for business.” Several rules are being targeted in the environment aspect, as the EPA is seeking to edit water regulations and car mileage standards. The EPA, after arduous processes, is finding ways to edit rules for the better and find a way to replace Obama’s Clean Power Plan with a newer and more efficient plan, instead of killing the plan as the administration would gladly have. In a study by Yale, US voters across the parties were surveyed and their results on action towards climate change were measured. For the most part, Democrats and Independents sided more with the idea of doing something about climate change particularly starting with our government and congress, whereas the Republicans, especially the conservative ones, thought otherwise. Nearly all parties agreed however, that corporations and industries, the big companies of America should be doing a big part in contributing to the reduction of emissions and aiding in addressing the issue of global warming. Around half of the voters believe that citizens, congress and especially President Trump, should do much more too. Half of the voters believed that climate change should be placed at a higher priority than it is now and Trump should consider it a real issue, rather than a hoax. Most voters believe overall, that the US should do whatever it can to reduce emissions, despite what other countries do. Overall, politics play a big role in our action to certain issues, particularly climate change. Many people want something to be done but are not able to with the current administration, but voices and opinions are heard and taken into consideration. Particularly because it is debatable that Trump will have a second term in office, and laws and rules need to be levied and put into effect before his term is over. The EPA is starting the process now and hoping to expedite their journey in replacing the Clean Power Plan as soon as possible in efforts to stay on the course.

 

Driving Towards a Greener Future

Unsurprisingly, human activities account for the majority of the increase in greenhouse gases over the last century. In 2015, the EPA did a study to see which activities accounted for the greater percent, hoping that those industries would turn toward greener alternatives. Transportation accounted for 27% of the emissions, the second largest source of greenhouse gases.

The largest portion of transportation is made up of emissions from combustion of petroleum-based products in internal combustion engines, like gasoline in an engine from cars and light-duty trucks. The other part of transportation is made up of trains, commercial aircraft, boats, and freight trucks. Since 1990, the total emissions from transportation increased dramatically due to an increase demand in travel. Due to this large increase, automobile and other transportation companies have been working to utilize alternative fuels and alternative sources of energy.

One automobile company that has been especially creative in alternative fuels is Honda. While Tesla has been paving the way for electric cars, Honda has turned towards hydrogen fuel cells to power their vehicles. Hydrogen fuel cell cars are zero emission, and run on hydrogen fed into a fuel cell that produces electricity, which then powers the vehicle. Honda chose to turn toward hydrogen rather than a traditional electric vehicle because they believed it to be a better long-term solution. The vehicle has a range of around 366 miles, which is the largest range of any zero emission vehicle, and fuels up in minutes at any hydrogen station. Unfortunately, Honda was not able to sell this vehicles nationwide because the only state with hydrogen stations in California. The current infrastructure of the United States is not equipped to handle releasing these vehicles at the moment. However, it is a great push towards the direction of alternative fuel we need to lower emissions drastically and in a few years, it is Honda’s hope to have more hydrogen stations around the country.

Another automobile company that has been thinking outside the box is Toyota. The company known for their fuel-efficient hybrid Prius vehicles is venturing out into other fuel options in order to cut emissions even further. The Toyota Research Institute was searching for new alternative fuel options when they figured it would take them a lot less time to have something much smarter then them searching for them. Therefore, they decided to fund an artificial intelligence software that worked towards finding new materials to use as batteries. Toyota, like Honda, has taken a step towards hydrogen-fueled cars, but believes machine learning will be able to determine a better source of fuel more quickly. By using artificial intelligence, Toyota will be able to reach a conclusion faster and will be able to produce a new vehicle that cuts down emissions. General Motors has also jumped in to create all-electric, zero emissions vehicles to reduce pollution. Following the rollbacks on fuel efficiency requirements in the U.S., General Motors hopes to pursue the electric age with the same ferocity as European governments. Since General Motors is the largest selling car manufacturer in the U.S., they hope that other automobile companies, if they have not already done so, will follow in their footsteps. They are not the most advanced in alternative fuel vehicles, but they will make the biggest impact on the industry.

Solar energy is also a very popular alternative fuel because it is relatively easy to set up and the source of energy is the sun, so it can re-charge whenever it needs.

A much talked about concept in the world of transportation is the idea of trains utilizing a fuel source other than diesel. In the UK and India, it is very much possible to implement solar powered trains with the existing infrastructure. Nothing about the voltage of the rails needs to be changed as they already fit between the voltage needed for solar energy of that magnitude. The only problem that arises when thinking of the logistics of making UK’s trains solar is the fact that they do not have the proper funding to change their trains and add power grids to the rural countrysides. India, on the other hand, has been steadily increasing the amount of electrified rails to make way for this type of innovation, but they too would need funding for power grids throughout the country. While trains do not make up the largest portion of transportation emissions, cutting back on fossil fuels in any aspect brings us one step closer to reducing our carbon footprint and slowing down the effects greenhouse gases have on our planet.

However, if these types of technology have been around for years already, we have to wonder why they have not been inserted into our society. The answer is simple: automobile companies saw no reason to change from diesel and gasoline powered engines if no one really cared about the emissions they produced. While climate change has been a big issue for many years, it was not until lately that consumers have realized the effects climate change has on our everyday lives. Since the consumer became more eco-conscious, the companies had to start creating products that were better for the environment. It begs the question, yet, whether it is right for companies to limit themselves to what the consumer wants rather than what the world needs. If we have the ability to minimize the damage of climate change, are we really going to let a few dollars stand in the way of saving our planet?

Climate Change: Moving with a Flood

Weather occurrences such as extreme rainstorms, hurricanes, and tsunamis are viewed as destructive forces which is true given how land, and infrastructure are used. Whether it is the skyscrapers in cities, neighborhoods in suburbs, or farmland in rural areas, none are capable of adapting in the middle of an extreme flood or storm. However, these various elements of society have to be preserved. Various defenses such as storm water drains, and bulwarks have been used to protect these areas, but these methods often fail. The issue is not that these areas are not properly protected, but the structures in these areas need a lot of protection to not be destroyed. The structures we build are rigid, and are not designed to adapted to drastic changed. In short, as a result of how land is used, and structures are built, society must fight against rising sea level. While sea level rising is currently a destructive force to current society, rising of sea level has the potential to be a tool for society.

Instead of creating defenses against flooding another solution is to control the water. A basic solution to controlling flooding is to utilize permeable pavement. Permeable pavement allows water to pass through it into the ground. In addition to helping water return to the water cycle, the pavement would lessen the chance of overflowing storm water systems and; therefore, cut down on flooding. This pavement has the potential to lessen the amount of rainfall going into sewage systems by 80%. A limitation of this technology is it may not be able to pass water into the ground quickly during anything like a hurricane. With this said, infrastructure like eco-boulevards could compensate for the limitations of permeable pavement by controlling flooding. Eco-boulevards work to control where floods take place within a city. Yangming Archipelago designed a city within the larger city of Changde, China so that floodwater would fall into the middle of the city. As a result, the eco-boulevards creates a temporary lake within a city and turns parts of a city into mini islands. Floods do not have to be seen as an invading body, but something that is part of society.

Some places simply cannot be flooded, and therefore would benefit from the technology used in POP-UP, a parking garage, designed by THIRD NATURE, that “floats” on water. The POP-UP garage moves up and down depending on the amount of overflow from sewers in the water reservoir underneath the garage. As the reservoir fills and releases water, the garage moves up and down accordingly. This technology works well in urban environments because it combines a parking garage with a water reservoir, thus creating more free space for other purposes. However, this technology is not limited to making floating parking garage, but could be applied to any architecture that follows the Archimedes Principle. For example, vertical farms could use this as additional safety. A vertical farm takes the mold of an expensive farm and makes it into a tower. At different levels of this tower, different foods and fish can be raised year round. A vertical farm would help protect farms from flooding, but the technology used in POP-UP would make the farm flexible to move with water, thus preserving the structure. The rise of sea level would not be as devastating if infrastructure did not resist various degrees of change.

The following is an image of how POP-UP works:

If flooding is going to be treated as a useful force then it has to be treated as a tool, not something to get rid of as soon as possible. For example, flooding has the potential to be real-estate, rather than a threat that destroys real-estate with the use of floating infrastructure. Floating infrastructure is not limited by issues such as space or continuing sea level rising, and thus works on a spectrum of facilities. For example, Floating City App has created a solar powered floating school by giving shipping containers an extreme make over. These floating schools come with a classroom, kitchen, bathroom, and solar powered battery pack. Given the compact nature of these schools that are easy to put into use. On the opposite end of the spectrum of floating infrastructure are plans like floating airports. In 2000, Mega Float created a floating airport in Tokyo Bay, Japan that measured 1000 meters long. The airport was so long that it rode multiple wave cycles at once that canceled each other out, and allowed the airport to remain stable. Since the airport was not viewed as necessary, it was dismantled in 2003. However, in the UK there have been proposals of creating a floating airport due to the growing population. Between population growth, the scarcity of real-estate, and rise of sea level, floating airports may become a reality again. With this said, there is not a reason to stop at airports as the extent of floating infrastructure, whole floating cities could be built. Floating cities change the issue of losing to rising sea leveling to a need to construct more space.

The following video discusses the future of floating airports:

The rise of sea level of force of flooding does not have to be a destructive force, but a force that requires change. Rising sea level is a current issue, and will persist for thousands of years. Fighting against rising sea level may only slow down the process, while making use of the floods and open water offer a more sustaining solution.

Climate Change and the US Military

The United States Armed Services are a vital and integral part of our nation. The United States defence budget alone is $846.6 billion, the second largest expenditure in our federal government’s expenditures right after social security, which boasts a whopping $1 trillion. US military spending is greater than the next nine countries combined. Clearly the US values it’s military, as they are thought to be not only our fighting force, but relief effort. The United States military takes pride in assisting those that need aid like from disasters. With climate change acting the way it is currently, the world is seeing an increasing demand for support as several places are being ravaged by hurricanes and earthquakes. In such a short time span, hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose, and Maria have all come to wreak havoc on Texas, Florida, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. While there are people that doubt climate change’s existence, our President included, the Pentagon and the Department of Defence, see the looming perils of climate change. Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis even noted that climate change is a “driver of instability” with the weather patterns destabilising regions and feeding into conflict. While the US military strives to assist the devastated states and islands to recover from the disasters, some military bases are already experiencing the negative effects of climate change. Naval bases by the waterfronts are experiencing hundreds of floods a year due to rising sea levels, and, according to calculations, these bases could be entirely submerged by the year 2100.

The military has already taken steps towards fighting climate change as they have been raising their naval bases, employing early storm warning systems, and utilising solar energy and other green, more efficient energies other than fossil fuels. Much of the country’s emissions come from the military and the production, and as a result, they seek to reduce that amount and help the planet. Climate change is happening all around us and needs to be handled. With just a mere three foot increase in sea level, would potentially threaten over 128 military installations, costing us over $100 billion.

While much of our efforts have been helping Texas and Florida recover from the hurricanes, Puerto Rico has not been so lucky. With Hurricane Maria striking a week ago, Puerto Rico still faces no power, no food, and is devastated. With FEMA’s response to Puerto Rico, the US military is now preparing to send over ships and aircraft in efforts to evacuate and help relieve the situation. Several C-17 and C-130 and C-5 aircraft from different bases are flying over to bring aid as well as Navy hospital ships are being sent over to aid. The US military knows how to aid those in need, particularly from disaster and recognises the global issue of climate change that could severely affect us and the next generation unless we do something about it.

 

Rising Sea Levels Will Soon Flood Our Coastal Cities

Our coastal cities and islands are under threat from the rising sea levels caused by climate change. By 2050, it is predicted that New York City will be flooded by six feet of water and some pacific islands, like Nuatambu, were swallowed by the rising sea level. There is no clear way to prevent the impacts a raised sea level will have on these cities or how to prepare for the consequences to come. However, there are some solutions scientists are trying to implement to mitigate the effects of rising sea levels. One of the methods they are hoping will help is the living shoreline. A living shoreline is a shore-protecting technique that utilizes mostly natural materials. There are different types of living shorelines to accommodate different types of coasts and an important quality of the living shoreline is that they are not too disruptive of the existing ecosystem.

The different types of living shorelines can be seen here:

However, issues do arise with this solution. Many large cities will not be able to build these types of shorelines into their existing infrastructure. For example, New York City could build a bulkhead around lower Manhattan, but they run the risk that the waves will either erode the wall and cause it to crumble or the sea level will rise over the wall, rendering it useless. Similarly, Florida already has marshes covering a majority of their northern coasts, but they are still at risk from flooding. Another issue that arises is islands would not benefit from a living shoreline. They simply do not have enough land to implement the living shoreline so another solution would have to be used. Living shorelines are not a long-term solution, but they will be able to protect our coastal cities until we are able to either halt or at least slow down the rise in sea level.

Another way cities and scientists are trying to protect coasts from rising sea level is by building canals throughout the city. This way, water would move throughout the city rather than being pushed up against a solid wall like a bulkhead. In Boston after Hurricane Sandy, a proposal was brought to the city to build canals throughout the city. The canals would move the water into low-lying back alleys and drain them throughout the city instead of letting it impact one place- more like a controlled flood. However, that kind of project comes with many questions like how they would build such a project, how deep the canals would need to be, and how effective this would all be if the canals proved to be too shallow in fifty or so years. A lot of the “solutions” people are coming up with are only going to temporarily fix the issue. While this is not effective for the long-term, it gives scientists more time to try to test out new ideas that could be more lasting.

The final and longstanding solution is artificial islands.

Artificial islands are man-made islands built to withstand waves, currents, high winds and can be built relatively easily. They are the best solution to rising sea levels because they are not affected by rising sea levels after they are finished. It solves the issue of where to put people displaced by hurricanes and flooding. They would include solar panels and wind farms to power them and make them completely self-sustainable. Some risks and issues that come with artificial islands are the risks of hurricanes, whether they can only be built in warmer climates and how they would manage waste. Nevertheless, these floating islands seem to be the best bet in the face of rising sea level.

The rise in sea levels is the effect of three primary causes: thermal expansion, melting of glaciers and polar ice caps, and ice loss from Greenland and West Antarctica. Thermal expansion is direct result of global warming and the only way to combat it would be to lower the emissions we currently put out. The melting of glaciers and polar ice caps are also a direct result of global warming, but there is no way to reverse the effect. We will need to adjust our lives to the rising sea level and lower the temperature of the water to cut risk. The final cause is ice loss from Greenland and Antarctica which means the water from those two poles is streaming into the ocean at a faster rate than normal. Coupled with thermal expansion and the extra water from the glaciers means the sea level has risen substantially in the last decade. Additionally, we really need to think about what we are going to do about the rising sea levels and what would happen if we did not change a thing. Another issue is the many islands that do not have the means of mitigating the effects rising sea level brings.

Preparing Our Cities for the Next Flood

There is minimal protection for coastal cities when it comes to combating tropical storms. Tropical storms can cause massive damage due to wind speed, impact from landfall, and remnants of floods. Whether one agrees climate change affects the frequency and power of hurricanes is irrelevant, these storms are occurring, and could hit a city such as New York City. The end of the 2017 hurricane season was devastating to Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico, each experiencing record breaking storms. These storms left communities demolished. In the case of Puerto Rico, the entire island may not have power for months. Puerto Rico has the potential to have 3.4 million displaced persons. If New York were hit by a strong enough storm there is a potential of over 8 million displaced persons. Generally, cities have minimal protection from such incidences. “Soft” defenses would be too extensive on their own to protect a city. The “hard” defenses cities do have offer little protection. In addition, it is difficult to know if a “hard” defense will be useful during a storm until the actual storm arrives. While building defenses for coastal cities is important to protect the areas, it is paramount to have systems that can act during the storm rather than invest in defenses that may fail.

Infrastructure from the underground storm drains to sky scrapers must be adapted to combat the strongest storms in order to minimize damage. It is 2017 there are cities, such as New York City, that continue to rely on bayous, rivers, and land to drain water in the event of a flood. One of the main tools used to combat flooding is storm drains, but as apparent in Texas, these storm drains can easily overflow from a strong storm. The frequency of flooding will continue to increase as the sea level continues to rise. If an area with a dense population, such as New York City, were hit by a major storm, waiting for the water to recede would not be an option. With this said, major cities on the coastline could benefit from the flooding system used in Japan to protect Tokyo known as the G-Cans Project. The G-Cans Project is a series of underground tunnels that total 3.7 miles long, and vertical shafts that measure 580 feet long, 59 feet high, and 256 feet wide. This network is capable of channeling 12,500,000 L of water per minute. However, if a city’s major portion of underground real-estate is used by subway stations, such as New York City, the scale of the G-Cans Project may not be possible, but the system may still be useful especially when used in combination with other flood prevention plans. If the water from a storm cannot be stopped it can at least be rerouted before more damage can be caused.

The following gives a brief look inside the G-Cans Project’s tunnels and tanks:

Storms are more than heavy rain fall, they are also extremely powerful winds, and the taller the building the more exposure to stronger winds it has to endure. Winds can make buildings sway. While winds may not always cause huge junks buildings to go flying, the swaying motion may distort the structure. Generally, swaying is not good for buildings. However, instead of fighting against wind, a possible solution is to go with the wind as evident by the architecture of the Sky Tree in Japan. The Sky Tree, the second tallest structure in the world, allows the movement from earthquakes to push it around. The Sky Tree is composed of a core column and an outer flexible region, the two sections are connected by oil dampers. As one part of the tower sways one way, the other sways another way which allows it remain stable. Granted this architecture was designed for earthquakes, but the uses for the design can also be applied for high-speed wind situations. Instead of fighting the wind, buildings could sway with it. If buildings had the flexible design of the Sky Tree getting through heavy storms turns from combating the storm to literally flowing with it until it passes.

The following is an image of the structure of the Sky Tree:

There is insufficient time to create a method that would prevent all damage to cities from storms, as the affects of climate change are a current threat and precautions need to be taken. However, cities need to take prepare themselves now because the weather patterns as exemplified in Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico will persist, if not get worse, for thousands of years. Even if carbon emissions were completely stopped, it would take thousands of years for the Earth to recover. Once cities take preliminary action for the coming weather problems, then they can begin to take preventive measures to prevent all damage.

Executive Summary-Energy of the Future

Introduction

The energy sector is facing many difficult challenges to address how globally the power sector must be transformed in the near future to sustain technological advances. These challenges entail meeting requirements of securing energy for when the need arises in the future, ensuring that they are addressing climate change as well as helping those people who lack access to energy resources.

The Future in Energy Transformation

The world is in the midst of an Energy Revolution. Energy technology innovation has become an integral part in meeting the increasing demand for energy. In order to meet this objective the United States has promoted energy efficiency in all sectors; due to higher future energy demand it has implemented changes specifically in the production and consumption of energy. Such changes include measures to utilize technology innovation for the reduction of gas emissions, increase utilization of renewable sources to produce electric energy, and an increase of awareness of how energy efficiency affects climate change. In the past ten years energy companies have been required to review and restructure their current business model. Power companies have been forced to think outside the box by implementing new strategies in order to be able to sustain a market share in the energy sector. Extensive initiatives have been taken by these power companies to address the increasing electricity demand as a result of the evolution of technology. The utilities companies have concluded that if they don’t act fast they will be left behind, especially with the drastic decrease in prices for renewables and energy storage. The protruding of distributed energy resources caused many changes to take effect at a faster pace than originally planned by the energy companies. As such, the electric power industry realizing that in order to remain competitive they must continuously invest monies in research and development. Energy companies are also required to make extreme modifications to their current business model in order to comply with the new requirements pursuant to the Paris Agreement on climate change; the framework has been finalized for the nation’s first carbon regulations. The energy revolution sets the ground work and the foundation on a global basis for the efforts to address climate change as well as coming up with ways to sustain a low-carbon energy future. Recent changes in the energy sector have resulted in the recognition of the importance of economic growth in the energy division, and at the same time the need to address climate change. It has become apparent that the emerging of advanced energy technologies provides many options to implement and address the challenges of the increased energy consumption. Advances in technology are the leading factors in driving this energy revolution to a whole new spectrum. The energy transformation creates additional possibilities for technologies which have proven that their exceptional accomplishments have been regarded as having the potential to change and reshape the surroundings in which we live and work.

 

Energy transformation has contributed to the economic growth as well as the great contribution to cleaner energy in the future. Currently in the United States the utilization of fossil fuels has drastically decreased, this was due to the vast technological innovations. It has resulted in the remarkable task of continued technological progress in wind, solar, and biofuels of which it has caused an increase in the use of renewable energy. The makeup of these energy sources has resulted in a vast shift: petroleum and coal are being replaced by the growing use of natural gas and renewables, resulting in a cleaner energy future. In addition to the benefits of meeting the increased demands of energy in the future, there have been also economic benefits. Increased production of oil, natural gas, and renewable energy has contributed to the increase in employment in these industries. Technological innovation and increased production of energy translates to price reduction for the supply of energy. The reduction in prices will benefit businesses as well as the residential arena; businesses realize an increase in their net income which translates to having to pay higher taxes to the taxing authorities, and households have an increase of disposable income.

http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/energy-and-the-environment/renewable-energy-and-electricity.aspx

 

As stated earlier, the breakthroughs and advances have been made predominantly in the technology sector of renewable energy. Energy companies have concluded that solar wind and hydro power are more efficient for meeting today’s growing energy demands; how will renewable energy be utilized in 30 years? The development of energy storage technology has been determined to be of the defining feature in the future of energy. There are various benefits to energy storage which is due to the renewable energy technologies, such as wind and solar, these will have the capacity to meet the supply and demand for energy. There are some drawbacks as well to the utilization of wind and solar. Since the production of renewable electricity is associated with wind and solar power they are also considered unreliable when it’s dark or there is minimal wind blowing. As we have realized how vital these power sources have become to our growing demand for energy, there is an increase demand for the investment in technologies that allow energy producers, such as the power sector, to come up with the capacity to store energy that is generated when the sun shines and the wind blows. The stored energy will be released on a need to basis, which results in providing a clean air environment as well as satisfying the high demand or when the wind or the sun is not available. As the world discovers new ways to meet its growing energy needs, there is also consideration taking place on how power companies are increasing their efforts to address climate change.

 

Conclusion

Renewable energy in various forms offers great opportunities for technological innovation and progress. Over the next thirty to fifty years continued efforts without interruption must be facilitated in order to keep up with the increase in demand for energy. Renewable energy development can be beneficial in underdeveloped and developing countries. Biofuels are highly regarded as a means of addressing climate change as well as satisfying the increased demand for the use of energy. The increase in the development of energy storage technology, finding new energy carriers will result in meeting greater energy demands.

 

 

 

Recommendations

 

  • Continue to invest in research and development for new ways for improved energy storage technologies.
  • Continued efforts to educate the public on energy efficiency – the purchase of energy efficient appliances
  • Implementing stricter building guidelines – the construction of buildings and homes to be built with higher energy efficiency codes.

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.

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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.

 

 

How Will Climate Change Affect Energy Transformation?

As the world discovers new ways to meet its growing energy needs, energy generated from Sun, which is better known as solar power, and energy generated from wind called the wind power are being considered as a means of generating power. Solar power is one of the widely used methods of renewable technology or alternative energy which is produced by collecting sunlight and converting it into electricity. This is done by using solar panels, which are large flat panels made up of many individual solar cells. In the past these solar panels were predominantly used in remote locations, but today these solar panels are being installed on top of roofs of homes and schools in the urban areas as well. Whereas French Company Ciel & Terre has been developing large-scale floating solar solutions, their innovative Hydrelio Floating PV system allows PV panels to be installed on large bodies of water such as: drinking water reservoirs, lakes, irrigation canals, remediation and ponds, and hydro-electric dam reservoirs. The combination of solar power and wind power to produce enormous energy called the solar wind power which will satisfy all energy requirements of human kind. Power companies are increasing their efforts to address Climate change. Energy technology innovation is essential to addressing climate mitigation goals, as well as supporting economic and energy security objectives. Companies must meet these demands by providing cost-effective technologies. The reliance on fossil fuels and recent trends such as unexpected energy market fluctuations strengthen the reason to make sure that energy companies evaluate the future demand in order to adequately plan accordingly. In 2015 global climate change became a very hot topic of discussion among government leaders throughout the world. The energy sector is involved in innovations to address clean energy technologies across all sectors important for an economy based on low carbon power sources that as a result will have a minimal output of greenhouse gas emissions into the biosphere. According to iea.org wind and solar PV have the potential to provide 22% of annual electricity sector emissions reduction by 2050. With growing demand for energy, there is also a need to provide the infrastructure to provide this growing demand it forces the emerging careful management of available resources to reduce carbon dioxide by inventing low-carbon solutions.

Climate change has been such a concern on a global basis. A conference was held in Paris on December 2015 whereby all of the world’s nations agreed by consensus to all work together to take action on the issue of climate change. They reached an agreement that countries would make every effort to limit the use of greenhouse gas emissions. The agreement disallows for countries to utilize fossil fuel and an energy producer. As President Elect Donald Trump takes office we should see what his actions will entail. As of now Trump has as much stated that he will attempt to renegotiate the agreement. During the campaign Trump has as much expressed that he does not believe that climate change is manmade. There have been numerous discussions lately on the subject, but we should wait and see what transpires once he is in office.