IPCC concludes: Renewable energy shift is a must
Conclusions from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's are simple: rapid shifts to renewable energy are needed to avert catastrophic global warming. The IPCC's report was produced by 1250 international experts and approved by each major government in the world. The report documented increases in human-caused greenhouse gases, the source of those gases, and their climatic effect. The most significant conclusions resulting from IPPC report are:
- Current efforts to reduce greenhouse gases are not enough.
- Energy supply is not the only thing driving emission increases.
- Big changes will be needed to avoid disaster scenarios.
Greenhouse gas reductions — Of the total amount of human-caused greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere every year since 1970, both from burning fossil fuels and from other industrial processes, current efforts to reduce greenhouse gases by switching the cleaner technologies and renewable energy have not been enough. Global greenhouse gas emissions have been increasing by at least 1.3 percent every year since 1970. From 2000 to 2010, those emissions were even greater, increasing by 2.2 percent annually.
Carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels and other industrial processes contributed about 78 percent of total greenhouse gas emission increases from 1970 to 2010. Similar percentage contributions were documented compounding the problem between 2000 and 2010.
Energy supply - Different economic sectors contribute directly to total human-caused greenhouse gas emissions, both directly and indirectly through electricity and heat production. In 2010, while energy supply contributed the most to man-made global warming (responsible for 35 percent of greenhouse gas emissions), industry is also to blame for man-made global warming. Agriculture, forestry and other land use (AFOLU) industries are responsible for 24 percent of emissions. Industry was responsible for 21 percent, and buildings responsible for 6 percent.
Disaster scenarios - The IPCC report compares our carbon emissions as they relate to temperature increases. Their scenario indicators show how much carbon we can emit in order to avoid a scenario where the world warms by more than 2°C, or 3.6°F, by the year 2100. The bottom line is that more emissions equal more warming.
The IPCC reasserts that continued inaction and more carbon emissions will lead to 9°F warming (or higher) for most of the U.S. and Northern Hemisphere landmass, resulting in faster sea level rise, more extreme weather, and collapse of the permafrost sink.
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Wind turbine on dry lands image via Shutterstock.