Is it too little and too late? Has our climate reached the point of no return?
According to articles and research, the die has been cast for climate change. Advance simulation models suggest that regardless of any human intervention global warming will continue to happen in the next 100 years. Climate scientists generally agree that the world temperature will continue to climb. No matter what we do, the climate will change (for the worst), and the only way to make a difference is to drastically reduce carbon emissions, the main contributing factors to global warming.
Unfortunately, our current society is still largely dependent on non-renewable resources as our primary source of energy. So more must be done, and change is a must for survival. In an attempt to address this situation, the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow (COP26) brought together 120 world leaders and over 40,000 participants to tackle the climate issues.
Global Energy Transition.
The pendulum has started to swing. By 2035, the global energy transition will reach a point of no return according to a report by Wood Mackenzie. This effectively means that by 2035 there will be an unstoppable shift for companies and countries around the world to adopt renewable energy for power demand. However, if nothing gets done, it will also mean the eventual depletion of non-renewable energy sources.
What is the global energy transition?
When an energy transition happens, the status quo is being disrupted. A new energy source emerges, which leads to a structural and permanent change in supply, demand and energy mix, and prices. As the world is relatively dependent on non-renewable energy sources it means that materials to make energy will eventually be depleted.
Renewable vs Non-renewable energy
With more emphasis placed on restricting carbon emissions (which is the cause of greenhouse gases) more and more countries are turning to renewable energy which is a cleaner energy source. Renewable energy is the energy we derive from mother earth naturally, which includes but is not limited to wind, hydro, and the sun. Renewable energy is inexhaustible.
Based on the Wood Mackenzie report, 20% of the global power need will need to be met by solar and wind while 20% of all miles traveled globally by land vehicles will need to use electric motors, displacing the need for oils. The combination of wind, solar and electric vehicles will displace approximately 100 billion cubics of oil per day.
However, with just the current technology for renewable energy from solar, wind, and hydro it might not be enough to sustain the world.
Scientists have announced recently that they have made a major breakthrough in the mission to make nuclear fusion a safe, clean, and practical energy source. The process is the same power-generating process that makes our sun shine brightly.
So what is nuclear fusion?
Nuclear fusion process comes from Nuclear fission, which is the reverse of what happens in current nuclear plants around the world. Clean energy is being produced when 2 small atomic nuclei at high temperatures are bashing together fusing them. This is the same basic process where hydrogen is converted to helium at the sun to make life possible for the earth. Nuclear fusion offers the prospect of climate-friendly, abundant clean energy without pollution.
Why is this breakthrough important?
With the nuclear fusion technology, the energy input is lower than energy that can be extracted
More power was generated this time round (record-breaking)
Address the issue of clean energy that will in turn play a part in carbon emission and climate changes issue
Creating a sustainable source of baseload energy
Protect the environment for our future generation/future proof
So is it all lost?
Even though things are looking bleak for the future, not all hope is lost. With the advancement of science and technology, it is a possibility that we can find an alternative clean energy source. But at the moment, we can only minimize the emission of carbon in order to buy as much time as possible, achieving Net Zero carbon will be a start for a sustainable future. The journey for a brighter and cleaner future generation starts with you and I.