Uruguay Powers Nearly 100% of Electricity From Renewables
Uruguay has made some impressive strides in the last decade on the environmental front. The South American country of 3.4 million has drastically reduced its carbon footprint in less than 10 years "without government subsidies or higher consumer costs," the country's National Director of Energy Ramón Méndez told The Guardian.
Uruguay Makes Dramatic Shift to Nearly 95% Electricity From #CleanEnergy https://t.co/e9OJTn3ThY #renewables #COP21 https://t.co/g7qQGIU4vj— Ignacio Mesalles (@Ignacio Mesalles)1449169923.0
Through energy efficiency measures and a vast expansion in renewables, the country has truly set itself apart. According to Méndez, renewables provide 94.5 percent of the nation's electricity, and wind, solar, biomass and hydropower now comprise 55 percent of the country's overall energy mix (including transport fuel).
The transportation sector remains a challenge for the country in switching completely to renewables. To address this, the capital city Montevideo is looking into buying autonomous electric cars for its fleet of municipal vehicles.
“What we’ve learned is that renewables is just a financial business,” Méndez says. “The construction and maintenance costs are low, so as long as you give investors a secure environment, it is a very attractive.”
Though the country only generates 0.06 percent of global emissions, Uruguay hopes to be carbon neutral by 2030. Méndez is in Paris at COP21 offering one of the world's most ambitious climate pledges: "88 percent cut in carbon emissions by 2017 compared with the average for 2009-13," according to The Guardian.
The country has no nuclear power and has not built a new hydropower project in more than two decades. That sets it apart from other small countries with high proportions of renewable energy (think: Paraguay, Bhutan and Lesotho), which are largely dependent on hydropower. Gary Wockner of Save the Colorado argues that hydropower is actually "one of the biggest environmental problems our planet faces" and a "false solution" for addressing climate change.
While not every country has Uruguay's small population and favorable natural resources, Uruguay has proven "renewables can reduce generation costs, can meet well over 90 percent of electricity demand without the back-up of coal or nuclear power plants, and the public and private sectors can work together effectively in this field," said Méndez. Other Paris delegates should take note.
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Journalism should reflect what science says. https://t.co/MCbSRQMFch— The Nation (@The Nation)1618240621.0
But the only side we're taking here is the side of science. As journalists, we must ground our coverage in facts. We must describe reality as accurately as we can, undeterred by how our reporting may appear to partisans of any stripe and unintimidated by efforts to deny science or otherwise spin facts.
COVERING CLIMATE NOW STATEMENT ON THE CLIMATE EMERGENCY:
Journalism should reflect what the science says: the climate emergency is here.It's time for journalism to recognize that the climate emergency is here.
This is a statement of science, not politics.
Thousands of scientists — including James Hansen, the NASA scientist who put the problem on the public agenda in 1988, and David King and Hans Schellnhuber, former science advisers to the British and German governments, respectively — have said humanity faces a "climate emergency."
Why "emergency"? Because words matter. To preserve a livable planet, humanity must take action immediately. Failure to slash the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will make the extraordinary heat, storms, wildfires, and ice melt of 2020 routine and could "render a significant portion of the Earth uninhabitable," warned a recent Scientific American article.
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We need the same commitment to the climate story.
We, the undersigned, invite journalists and news organizations everywhere to add your name to this Covering Climate Now statement on the climate emergency.
- Covering Climate Now
- Scientific American
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- The Nation
- The Guardian
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- Al Jazeera English
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Reposted with permission from Common Dreams.
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