Decarbonization: Maintaining a low-carbon economy
Decarbonization means that countries have an agreement on reducing their GHG emissions. How to shift electricity demand and counter climate change?
Imagine the world without greenhouse gas emissions. Imagine a landscape without industrial chimneys. Imagine that every industry (public or private) uses only electricity and renewable energy, like solar and wind power. But our journey has just begun to achieve such successes.
In 1992 world leaders signed an agreement in Rio de Janeiro to reduce GHG emissions. The goal was to stabilize the gas concentrations in the atmosphere in order to prevent dangerous anthropogenic effects on humankind.
In 1997, the Kyoto Protocol was signed by 193 countries. We consider this as the first step of cutting gas emissions, but there are still many steps to take. However, the Kyoto Protocol only came into force in 2005.
The Paris Agreement on climate change
The Paris Agreement replaced the Kyoto Protocol in 2015, signed by 197 countries. Its advantage is that almost every country in the world agreed on it and make progress to reduce emissions – but on the other hand, the Paris Agreement does not have a specific strategy that applies to countries. In fact, the agreement is just empowering the countries to use more renewable energy and make an attempt to peak their fossil fuel consumption as early as they can, and then start reducing it.
The Paris Agreement recognized that for developing countries it will take longer to achieve such goals. To help them, developed countries mobilize 100 billion USD per year until 2025 (and may renew this support with an even higher amount of money after 2025).
- To cap global warming under 2 C (3.6 F)
- Preferably 1.5 C (2.7 F) by the end of the century
How do companies fight against global warming?
Step by step, the industry will slowly reduce carbon dioxide emissions, and not just because of the global warming: our global supply of non-renewable energy will not last forever. There is a need to switch to solar power, but until that using less polluting fossil fuels is a good solution.
Natural gas is the most environmentally friendly fossil fuel. Extraction, storage, and transportation are efficient enough to make this form of energy more sustainable than coal. Read more about natural gas vs coal.
Natural gas is also much greener than diesel and gasoline because it emits less carbon dioxide when combusted. Considering only tailpipe emissions, natural gas is almost 20% cleaner than gasoline when it is burned. Fuelling with natural gas is not widely spread, but becomes more and more popular every year.
Our technology is not improved enough to store renewable energy, thus it is not that efficient and can harm the environment. Think about the many batteries we use and change in our cars, phones, and other goods. Read more about solar energy vs fossil fuels.
What can you do against climate change?
Protecting the Earth is not just a governmental duty or a company’s task, but people need to change their views too. Actually, there are a lot you can do against climate change:
- Avoid wasting food
- Choose greener transportation modes (walk, bike, public transport)
- Eat less meat (the meat industry is one of the most polluting on Earth)
- Do not buy unnecessary goods (do you need those new clothes?)
- Recycle and reuse
- Avoid single-use plastics
- Buy power-saving lightbulbs and other items that have a power-saving mode
- Educate people to live more sustainably
Think eco-friendly in your everyday life – without you, it will be even harder to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.
Conclusion about decarbonization
- Reaching the targets of the Paris Agreement might take decades or even a century.
- Climate change control is everyone’s responsibility.
- Until then, using less pollutant fossil fuels is a good step forward.
- Yet, renewable energies have their handicaps too: storage and transportation are not efficient enough.