Record Heat & Renewable Energy

It should come as no surprise that the first half of 2016 has gone down as earth’s hottest 6 months on record.

According to a July, 2016, NOAA report on global temperatures, “Six record warm monthly global temperatures during the first half of 2016 resulted in the highest global land and ocean average temperature for January-June at 1.05°C (1.89°F) above the twentieth century average, besting the previous record set in 2015 by 0.20°C (0.36°F).” Arctic sea ice extent and thickness were the lowest on record in June, 2016.

Scientists agree that emissions into the atmosphere from the continued burning of coal, oil, and gasoline are main contributors to the dramatic increase in global temperatures. The question remains, is anyone doing anything about it?

The answer is yes. Renewable energy production in the US and EU keeps gaining in percentage of all energy produced year after year, but progress is slow. It takes time and major financial investment to build enough wind farms and solar arrays to replace the energy produced by billions of tons of coal and oil every year.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) reports that renewable energy sources at the end of 2015 accounted for 17.83% of total installed operating generating capacity in the United States, compared to 13.71% in 2010. During that 5-year period, coal’s share of US generating capacity dropped from 30.37% to 26.16%. FERC’s renewable energy sources are made up of hydro, wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal.

Many European countries are doing even better than the US in converting to renewable energy. Here are some examples of renewable energy’s percentage of total energy production: Denmark 66%, Portugal 30%, Germany 27%, Spain 24%, and Italy and the UK 23%. China has invested heavily in renewable energy, but still relies mainly on coal for energy production.

In the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, 196 nations agreed to reduce fossil fuel emissions and aim for totally eliminating greenhouse gases in the atmosphere by 2050. Island nations threatened by sea level rise led the fight to reach this goal by 2050 instead of the originally agreed timetable of “the second half of the 21 century.” We hope the participating nations keep their word and accomplish the changeover from a fossil fuel world to a renewable energy world of clean air by century’s midpoint.

Gordon About Gordon

In writing his novel TSUNAMI, Gordon Gumpertz did extensive research on plate tectonics and seafloor geology to give this work of fiction an authentic atmosphere.

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