Renewable energy production is on the rise. World leaders and Governments have had to set specific targets to reduce the growing problem of climate change. We need to reduce our carbon footprint so that average global temperatures don’t swell up by two degrees.
Where possible we should all make use of clean and green energy sources such as wind, solar, hydro, biomass and others. If so-called ‘natural’ resources are as affordable and scale-able as they say; and if they can fulfil United Nations Climate Change targets, then why not go for it?
Some locations are leading the way when it comes to providing renewable electricity.
Let’s cross to the Caribbean and take a closer look at Costa Rica. Back in March Costa Rica’s Government announced that the country had been able to run on only renewable energy this year. Much of that is thanks to its abundance of volcanoes – who knew that drilling into volcanoes to extract heat from molten rock could power so many homes? It is however hydro dams that provides Costa Rica with the highest percentage of renewable energy – with around 80%.
Iceland is another country thriving on geothermal power. According to the International Energy Agency Iceland now relies wholly on renewable energy, with an increase in the use of geothermal in recent years. In 2011, 64% of renewable energy came from geothermal - heat obtained from the Earth that’s sent to power lines. The Scandinavian country is now recognised as offering a high standard of living - a stark contrast to tough times in 2008-2010 when it experienced a severe financial crisis.
Other countries dream to imitate the success of those already entirely reliant on renewable energy. Some of the world’s largest cities for example, have united through the C40 Climate Leadership Group - which aims to address climate change locally to help address concerns globally.
Vancouver hopes to be Canada’s ‘green city’ by 2030, using renewable power for electricity, heating and cooling, while transport could take until 2050. In Munich the goal for reaching 100% renewable electricity supply is 2025; the demand there is for at least 7.5 billion kilowatt hours per year. Germany is Europe’s leader for installing new wind power capacity, and Chancellor Merkel’s position to “Do more, more urgently” on climate change, stands the country in good stead when it comes to reaching Munich’s 2025 aim.
Germany’s northerly neighbour Denmark, the first country in the world to install an offshore wind farm in the 90’s, clearly understands renewable energy well. Its 513 turbines can already supply enough power to cover the capital’s electricity needs. In Copenhagen, now officially the ‘Best City for Cyclists’, residents cruise along the 390km network of cycle lanes, aware that one less person driving a car can only be a good thing. This environmentally-friendly approach is a strong indication that the city really will be fully carbon neutral by 2025, matching Munich’s objective.
But who’ll be first to reach carbon-neutrality? Watch this space…
What the leaders say
“We are the green tide coming together to save the world from climate change.” – Park Won-Soon, Mayor of Seoul, South Korea, at Local Governments for Sustainability World Conference
“Climate change is disrupting national economies, costing us dearly today and even tomorrow.” – UN Climate Change Summit 2014
“Do more, more urgently.” – Angela Merkel & Francois Hollande’s take on climate change
“This is not a problem for another generation. It has serious implications for the way we live right now.” - Barack Obama
“The global environment crisis is, as we say in Tennessee, real as rain, and I cannot stand the thought of leaving my children with a degraded earth and diminished future.” - Al Gore - former US Vice-President & Environmental Activist