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Can Renewable Energy Save the World?

Experts often offer Renewable Energy as the solution to our climate crisis, however, perhaps it is not the only answer. Keep reading to find out more. 

The hope is that clean energy will replace fossil fuels, and there is no doubt this would be a huge achievement. BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy 2020 shows fossil fuels are still supplying 84% of the world’s energy. Not only this, but fewer than 20 firms make up a third of all carbon emissions. You can read more about how to offset a carbon footprint here

Renewable Energy is energy which replenishes itself. For example, solar and wind energy derive from nature and so, will never run out. Let’s talk about the pros and cons. 

Advantages

  • It’s better for the environment than fossil fuels
  • We have infinite resources
  • Provides sustainable job opportunities
  • Low maintenance costs

Disadvantages

  • Supply is intermittent 
  • More upfront costs than fossil fuels
  • Geographical inconsistencies 
  • Renewable does not mean sustainable 

This last point is an important caveat. In 2010 IEA’s review found that hydropower provided 77% of green power. Since, this has fallen to 45%. Indeed, not all clean energy is equally sustainable. Forms of hydropower like large dams damage river ecology and displace people from their homes. This is not environmentally or socially sustainable. 

Relying on renewables to tackle the climate crisis also poses another significant issue. It does not address the source: excessive consumption. Clean energy may well be the future, but for the sake of that future, we cannot maintain this cycle of materialism, consumerism and waste. The UK alone amasses 9.5 million tonnes of food waste a year and fashion trends change with the wind.

If our mindsets do not change, neither will climate change. 

 

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