Climate change has been on the minds of many across the globe for good reason. Unfortunately, solutions to the problem are often discredited as being too difficult or costly. However, these excuses often don’t have a solid base in fact.
Is it really difficult to battle climate change?
While we may decide delaying is in our best interest, global warming is not waiting around. It has been found that our oceans are warming 40% faster than we previously anticipated. Let’s examine how difficult it will really be to embrace zero emissions.
One of the biggest contributors to emissions has always been the energy sector. Many countries rely heavily on coal and other fossil fuels as the backbone of their electric grid, but times are changing. Clean renewable energy sources like wind and solar are now cheaper than coal.
If this is the case, why has the switch not been made? It’s a great question! For many years, it was very true that relying solely on solar or wind power was risky. In the past, one cloudy and windless days would take the lights away. However, that has long changed.
Unlike earlier models, modern solar panels and wind farms now are equipped with batteries that can store energy that is not used. The technology is constantly advancing and soon enough this won’t be an issue, but we already have solutions for it. Both nuclear and hydroelectric energy are very reliable and produce zero emissions.
The best part about these sources is we can directly control how much energy is produced. So when bad weather conditions strike, you can increase the amount of energy released into the electric grid by these other sources. Nuclear energy already makes up 20% of the United States power, while Hydro makes up 7.4% of electricity generation.
In the energy sector, it is actually very easy to embrace zero emissions.
The next biggest hurdle in stopping carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions is the transportation sector. This is arguably the hardest because it would completely cripple how we travel, but we are already on the right track. While it may seem far off, in the United States, it is expected that most cars built will be electric in 2040. However, let’s ask ourselves, why wait so long?
Many nations have already begun banning fossil fuel vehicles. For example, Costa Rica will have a ban in effect in 2021, Sweden has similar goals for 2030 along with many other nations. The quicker we embrace getting rid of fossil fuel cars, the better and we already have an alternative.
Many car manufacturers have already proven electric vehicles work great, but the issue that most critics bring up is the cost. However costs are coming down and once the auto industry is forced to make electric vehicles, the prices will decrease rapidly. Embracing zero emissions in transportation is completely possible.
Unfortunately, unless we embrace this idea, nothing will change.
Other Sectors Are Not So Simple
Fixing the last two sectors would go a long way and we have the resources to do it, but other sectors are more difficult. Agriculture and industry are the other major contributors of greenhouse gas emissions. Agriculture is particularly tricky because that is our main food source. Impacting the food line can have serious consequences on the average citizen.
The industry sector is in a similar situation. Any major changes that cost any company money will result in a price increase. These are not desirable outcomes, but with carbon capture technology emerging, it is very possible as long as companies around the world do the same. However, without government intervention, most companies will avoid this for as long as possible.
Overall, fighting climate change is not overly difficult and we have many of the necessary tools to do so. The problem is the cost. However, I believe that cost is like ripping off a bandaid, the quicker it gets done, the less painful it is. Prolonging or avoiding necessary change that will ensure the survival of our planet for future generations is ridiculous.
Embracing zero emissions policies is completely doable with proper planning, but choosing to do nothing will just prolong the inevitable. It is better to take action now rather than later.