Power produced by renewable energy sources, like wind and solar, has doubled globally since early 2015, according to a new report by Ember (a climate-focused think tank), a Global Electricity Analytics site. These renewable energy sources now take up a tenth of the global power emissions, reaching close to the same amount of energy generated by nuclear power plants. Carbon-free power sources are steadily replacing coal as we approach the new decade. The United States now receive 12 percent of their power from wind and solar. Even in April 2019, the total amount of renewable power generated in the United States surpassed coal for the first time, contributing to a record setting year for renewable power sources. The stats rolling out at the end of 2020 are promising for any renewable energy enthusiast.
The progress made globally over the best five years is encouraging and helps limit the devastating effects of climate change. There is still a long way to go to reach the goal set in The 2015 Paris Climate Agreement of stopping the planet from heating up more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. To hit that target, coal needs to drop 13 percent every year over the next 10 years, and carbon dioxide emissions need to essentially disappear by 2050.
Although you may think that we are on our way to completely abolish the fossil fuel industry, this may be a wishful dream rather than a realistic expectation. The reality is that wind and solar are dependent on the fossil fuel industry; they cannot exist without oil and natural gas. Wind turbines and solar panels cannot be made solely from other wind turbine and solar panels. Fossil Fuels are required for the manufacturing, transportation and assembly of wind and solar equipment. It also provides a necessary backup in case the wind is not blowing, or the sun isn’t shinning. Wind and Solar facilities require massive quantities of steel and concrete, both of which require oil and natural gas in their manufacturing processes. The amount of steel required for wind and solar to replace fossil fuels exceeds the worlds capability to produce it for decades.
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