Quantcast

Climate Change Milestone Demands Shift to Renewable Energy

Renewable Energy

World Wildlife Fund

According to scientists, there’s no doubt that human beings are responsible for rising levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. © WWF

The need to shift to sustainable and clean energy sources will be reinforced when the levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere reached 400 parts per million (ppm) for the first time in human history in the next few days.

Scientists from the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii are set to announce that levels of atmospheric CO2 are reaching 400ppm now, marking a critical point on the pathway to dangerous levels of global warming.

The imperative to drive down these emissions has never been stronger, says Samantha Smith, World Wildlife Fund leader of the Global Climate & Energy Initiative.

“The laws of physics tell us that the more CO2 we have in the atmosphere, the warmer the world will get. The last time the Earth’s atmosphere had as much CO2 as it has today, the world was 3-4 degrees Celsius warmer. And the last time the world was that warm, sea levels were five to 40 meters higher than they are now,” says Smith.

According to scientists, there’s no doubt that human beings are responsible for rising levels of CO2 in the atmosphere, with most of global climate pollution coming from the energy sector, especially burning fossil fuels. If CO2 levels continue to rise, we can expect to see record high temperatures become the new summer average; record droughts become the norm; and record storms and floods become frequent events.

“Globally, communities and governments already struggle to respond to droughts, crop failures and extreme weather events, even in rich countries such as the U.S. If CO2 levels keep rising, efforts to adapt to a changing climate are very unlikely to do the job,” says Smith.

But this trajectory can change if the right choices are made.

“With a fast global shift to renewable energy and supported by strong energy efficiency measures, we can drastically reduce CO2 emissions which eventually will also stabilize and reduce atmospheric CO2 concentrations,” says Smith.

Costs of renewable electricity have dropped radically, and in 2011 investments in renewables outstripped investments in fossil fuel power for the first time. Renewable energy can become “the new normal.” But it requires commitments from governments if it is to happen quickly enough and at scale, she says.

The Mauna Loa Observatory is operated by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego. Scripps Institution of Oceanography is one of the oldest, largest and most important centers for ocean and Earth science research, education and public service in the world.

The observatory in Hawaii is sited 3,400m above sea level and far from any major pollution sources in the Pacific Ocean and therefore its data on CO2 is considered to be the “gold standard” of data.

Visit EcoWatch’s RENEWABLE ENERGY and CLIMATE CHANGE pages for more related news on this topic.

——–

Click here to tell Congress to Expedite Renewable Energy.

 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Arx0nt / Moment / Getty Images

By Taylor Jones, RD

Oats are a highly nutritious grain with many health benefits.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

Get ready to toast bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. National Pollinator Week is June 17-23 and it's a perfect time to celebrate the birds, bugs and lizards that are so essential to the crops we grow, the flowers we smell, and the plants that produce the air we breathe.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Alexander Spatari / Moment / Getty Images

It seems like every day a new diet is declared the healthiest — paleo, ketogenic, Atkins, to name a few — while government agencies regularly release their own recommended dietary guidelines. But there may not be an ideal one-size-fits-all diet, according to a new study.

Read More Show Less
Logging shown as part of a thinning and restoration effort in the Deschutes National Forest in Oregon on Oct. 22, 2014. Oregon Department of Forestry / CC BY 2.0

The U.S Forest Service unveiled a new plan to skirt a major environmental law that requires extensive review for new logging, road building, and mining projects on its nearly 200 million acres of public land. The proposal set off alarm bells for environmental groups, according to Reuters.

Read More Show Less
Maskot / Getty Images

By Kris Gunnars, BSc

It's easy to wonder which foods are healthiest.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Homes in Washington, DC's Brookland neighborhood were condemned to clear room for a highway in the 1960s. The community fought back. Brig Cabe / DC Public Library

By Teju Adisa-Farrar & Raul Garcia

In the summer of 1969 a banner hung over a set of condemned homes in what was then the predominantly black and brown Brookland neighborhood in Washington, DC. It read, "White man's roads through black men's homes."

Earlier in the year, the District attempted to condemn the houses to make space for a proposed freeway. The plans proposed a 10-lane freeway, a behemoth of a project that would divide the nation's capital end-to-end and sever iconic Black neighborhoods like Shaw and the U Street Corridor from the rest of the city.

Read More Show Less
Demonstrators outside a Republican presidential debate in Detroit in 2016. Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Michigan prosecutors dropped all criminal charges against government officials involved in the Flint water crisis Thursday, citing concerns about the investigation they had inherited from the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) appointed by former Attorney General Bill Schuette, CNN reported.

Read More Show Less
Samara Heisz / iStock / Getty Images

New York state has joined California, West Virginia, Arizona, Mississippi and Maine in ending religious exemptions for parents who prefer not to vaccinate their children, The New York Times reported.

Read More Show Less