Renewable Energy: A Key Solution for Climate Crisis
Amin Maalouf in his famous book Le Naufrage des Civilizations (The Wreck of Civilizations) asks “Will we be able to learn from the past before disasters hit us? Will we have the courage to pack up and steer in the right direction before it’s too late? (1)” The focus of Amin Maalouf’s book was not the climate crisis. However, we can ask the same question about this issue, which is one of the greatest disasters humanity has faced.
We do not know if we can go in the right direction before it’s too late. However, we know that one of the right directions to mitigate climate change is the adaptation of renewable energy.
What causes climate change?
Climate change refers to long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns. These shifts may be natural, such as through variations in the solar cycle (2). However, human activities have been the primary cause of climate change since the 1800s, primarily due to burning fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas. Burning fossil fuels produces greenhouse gas emissions, which act like a blanket around the Earth, trapping the sun’s heat and increasing temperatures.
What is the greenhouse effect? Greenhouse Effect Explained
The greenhouse effect works like a greenhouse. Even in the winter, a greenhouse maintains a comfortable temperature inside. Sunlight shines into the greenhouse during the day, warming the plants and air inside. It gets cooler outside at night, but the greenhouse keeps fairly warm inside. This is due to the greenhouse glass walls trapping the Sun’s heat (3).
On Earth, the greenhouse effect functions in a similar way. Gases in the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide, trap heat in the same way as a greenhouse glass roof does. The gases that trap heat are known as greenhouse gases. We need greenhouse gasses. The average temperature of the Earth would fall if the greenhouse effect did not exist. The average temperature is currently at 14 degrees Celsius. Temperatures could drop to – 18 degrees Celsius without GHG (3).
The natural greenhouse effect of the Earth is being altered by human activity. When fossil fuels like coal and oil are used, more carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere. If there are too many of these greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the Earth’s atmosphere will begin to trap more and more heat. The Earth warms as a result of this. There are several greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere that naturally occurs such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, etc.
Human-caused CO2 is the most significant contributor to global warming. Its concentration in the atmosphere had risen to 48% above pre-industrial levels by 2020 (before 1750) (4).
IPCC’s Sixth assessment report’s current state of the climate section underlines that; “Human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean, and land. Widespread and rapid changes in the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere, and biosphere have occurred (5).”
Global Emissions by Gas
Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Economic Sector
As we can see energy sector is the primary source of CO2 emissions. The largest single source of global greenhouse gas emissions is the burning of coal, natural gas, and oil for electricity and heat. Electricity and heat production, fossil fuels burned on-site facilities for energy (industry), and other energy forms 56% of global gas emissions (6). That is why renewable energy is becoming so important to mitigate global warming.
The future can be dark or bright. It depends on whether we shift to a net-zero emissions world. According to Shell Analysis Renewable energy sources, sun and wind will be the primary energy sources for the future (7).
In Turkey, we have also several startups working on renewable energy. We put them on our renewable energy startups map.
You can reach our 2022 renewable energy startups map here!
Quick Disclaimer: This is not a full-scale map of the renewable energy startups in Turkey. For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Amin Maalouf, Le Naufrage Des Civilizations