A Roundup of Renewable Energy around the World
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The continual consumption of fossil fuels is a serious contributing factor to climate change, and first world countries consume more than their fair share. Renewable energy around the world is one of the best options for working on reducing that. It is not a full solution to climate change, but it can help mitigate the severity of it. At this point, that’s our primary goal.
Although first world countries consume more carbon emissions than others, they are not the only ones trying to solve the carbon crisis. Most countries are trying to work toward green technology. Numerous countries making impressive strides. In fact, some small islands have been able to run entirely off of renewable energy. This is difficult for large nations to replicate because the energy demand is so much higher, but even those achievements are impressive. Costa Rica managed 76 days with only renewable energy sources, and other islands are looking to do the same.
China is probably the biggest surprise. They’re the leading country for overall greenhouse gas emissions, but that’s mostly because they’ve got a huge population and a large production industry. They’re also making some fantastic strides in employing renewable technologies, despite their still impressive emissions. Their reasons for doing so may be based more on watching how the new industry can help them financially, but the result is the same. They are sweeping other countries under the rug with their work on renewables.
They have built and are operating vast solar and wind farms. China has a lot of space, and much of it is unpopulated. They have room to build renewable farms on a scale that more developed countries can’t. They have set their own goals, per the Paris Agreement, and one of them is to produce 20 percent of the country’s energy needs with renewables by 2030.
Iceland has, impressively, been getting more than 75 percent of its energy from renewable sources. This country has an unusual situation since they are well situated to make use of geothermal energy. They don’t need to rely on wind and solar, which are more variable, and can instead depend on a constant, steady supply of power from below their feet. Their luck has made it easy to change from fossil fuels, and they’ve taken full advantage of it.
The U.S. isn’t exactly top dog when it comes to renewables, but it’s still come a long way. In the late 60’s, when rivers started catching fire from all the pollution, a series of environmental policies were enacted. That curbed a lot of the U.S. emissions from companies, but the per capita emissions in the U.S. are still some of the highest in the world.
Cities and corporations in the U.S. are making a concentrated effort to take their own measures to move toward renewable energy sources. Tesla is aiming to make electric cars available to everyone, but they’re also working on solar power for everyone. In fact, they’ve designed an entire roof made of solar panels.
And despite the government’s efforts, the U.S. has made significant strides. In the past seven years, the U.S. has reduced energy emissions by over 12 percent. That’s not a huge number, and it’s certainly not high enough, but it’s a good start.
A lot of people don’t talk about Africa, but it’s one of the biggest consumers of renewable energy in the world. A big part of that comes from the fact that they never had a solidly established fossil fuel system, so they have nothing to change from. They can only gain energy, and a lot of that comes from green tech. The other significant factor is that the fossil fuel industry has less of a hold in Africa. The energy supply there is expected to at least double by 2030, and a massive portion of that is likely to be from renewable energy.
The efforts that are being put into renewable energy around the world is impressive. All countries need to get on board, and if they don’t do it because it’s good for the planet, they should do it because it’ll be good for their pockets. Ignoring the worldwide trend of energy consumption would be like ignoring the Industrial Revolution. Doing so will leave you in the dust.
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About the author
Starting from an early age, Jane Marsh loved all animals and became a budding environmentalist. Now, Jane works as the Editor-in-Chief of Environment.co where she covers topics related to climate policy, renewable energy, the food industry, and more.