Role of Renewable Energy in Mitigating Climate Change

Role of Renewable Energy in Mitigating Climate Change

May 30, 2018


Climate is the study of the weather pattern for a longer period may be more than a decade. It is change in rainfall pattern, temperature and other weather change factor considering a larger period. Today is hotter than yesterday or this year’s rainfall volume is more than last year cannot be considered as a change in climate but if for a more than a decade summer temperature is increasing ( yearly earth is getting hotter by  0.05 degree Celsius), it can be considered as a change in climate.

The rainfall pattern is of changing pattern i.e. generally monsoon is the season for rainall but we are facing that during rainy season rainfall is not regular whereas during other season rainfall volume is greater than rainy season. We are now facing erratic (though the total volume of rainfall is almost same in a year, its density is greater for certain day) rainfall which is responsible for large floods during a rainy day and drought for a longer time in the whole year. To some extent, man being intelligent with high adaptive capacity can manage such changes but other animals and plants life have become too difficult with such changes in weather pattern. Due to such change in rainfall and temperature not only ecosystem is affected adversely agriculture business too is suffering directly a lot and production are decreasing to a greater extent both in quantity and quality which directly reduces the economic growth of a nation.

The water level in the sea is increasing due to increase in melting of ice in polar region and Himalayas due to increase in temperature of the earth.

Nowadays we hear spreading of several hazardous diseases like Ebola, Bird Flue Swine Flue etc. that can easily kill a large mass of human population and even world can be in danger. The spread of these diseases may be due to change in climate as the virus responsible for these diseases got the favorable environment for growth and development.

Causes of Change in Climate:

The main factor responsible for a change in climate is the increase in temperature which is due to increase in Carbon dioxide, which comes to a greater extent from large factories, electricity generation, transportation system, increased rate of deforestation etc. With disturbance in the natural balance of CO2 and oxygen in nature due to excess emission of CO2 from increased economic activities of people, the earth is becoming hotter every day.

Effect of Change in Climate

As a result, of increase in temperature, more evaporation in ocean takes place and dense rainfall and hurricane occur damaging human lives, ecosystem, and infrastructures. To overcome such damage we have to invest a large sum of money not only for damage even for prevention. For example, if a hydropower is considered to be developed in a river dam should be designed such that largest possible flood too cannot damage it so its cost rises exponentially. The embankment made in the Tarai region need design such that it can withstand the largest flood.

Mitigation in Climate Change: Role of Renewable Energy

The only way to mitigate the changing climate is earth’s temperature increase rate needs to decrease to the extent possible. In order to obtain that we have to control the emission of CO2 or increase the CO2 consumption rate. The second option is not possible directly by the human but can be obtained from afforestation programs in the bare land but it is not going to help much. So only way is to stop in the source. To reduce CO2 the main possible way is to go to renewable energy in every sector.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published a report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation in 2011. It provides broader coverage of RE and Renewable Energy Policy. The main finding of this report is RE can contribute to “social and economic development, energy access, secure energy supply, climate change mitigation and the reduction of negative environmental impacts and health impacts.”

In 2015, 32 gigatonnes (Gt) of energy-related to CO2 were emitted across the world. At present, renewable energy holds a share of about 25 percent of global power production and 16 percent of primary energy supply. According to study, in order to reduce CO2 emission by 70 % by 2050  renewable energy sources should represent 80 percent of global power generation and 65 percent of total primary energy supply. According to the report, emissions will need to decline continuously to 9.5 Gt by 2050, in order to curb global warming to no more than 2°C above pre-industrial temperatures.

If a target is set to decarbonize the energy sector as above stated; an additional USD 29 trillion is needed; this only amounts to a small share (0.4 percent) of global gross domestic product (GDP).

Present issues according to IPCC report on Renewable Energy

  • Bioenergy – typically offering constant and controllable output, the types of biomass and processes currently available are broad and varied in terms of technical maturity. Increased competition for food and fiber demand poses a threat to achieving high potential deployment levels of biomass for energy.
  • Direct solar energy – offers a practically unlimited, if variable and unpredictable, source of energy. The paper focuses on the four main types of solar power: solar thermal, photovoltaic, concentrating solar power (CSP) and solar fuels production methods.
  • Geothermal energy – with no significant impact from climate change on sources of supply, geothermal offers a reliable, if technically challenging, energy source that could meet around three percent of the world’s energy demands by 2050.
  • Hydropower – a proven, mature and cost-competitive technology, though the high up-front investment in infrastructure and planning remains a deterrent to investors and requires new financing models.
  • Ocean energy – the theoretical potential easily exceeds present human energy requirements, but development is still in its nascent stage and large-scale deployment is unlikely before 2020.
  • Wind energy – primarily used for electricity generation from large on- and offshore grid-connected wind turbines. Social acceptance, transmission and operational costs and institutional constraints are likely to restrict growth.

So in order to reduce CO2 emission rate, governments of all country should focus on renewable energy like solar, wind, hydropower, geothermal etc(responsibility of the developed country is obviously higher). The governments should invest huge amounts in research so that renewable energy becomes economic and people get attracted towards it. Governments should encourage renewable energy producers and should give subsidy so that more renewable sources are depicted. Moreover, researchers and engineers should focus their study and works in the renewable energy fields like increasing efficiency, reduction of cost.