Solar Lowdown

The challenge of climate change

Over 97% of scientists researching and publishing papers on climate change believe there is very strong evidence that humans are largely responsible for the increase in temperature over the past 100 years. They are supported by virtually all governments and scientific organisations around the world.  The latest IPPC report (March 2014) makes it clear that climate change is already having adverse effects by causing extreme weather events, bushfires, floods and droughts.

If we are to keep the temperature increase within two degrees, we must leave most of the world’s fossil fuel reserves in the ground. If we don’t do this, according to the UN body, the IPCC, we could face increases of up to six degrees by the end of the century. This would make life on earth, as we know it, virtually impossible.

It is therefore vital that we conserve energy and develop renewable forms of energy, in particular solar, wind, bioenergy and geothermal.

The  International Energy Agency which was once a strong promoter of fossil fuels has in recent years put its weight behind renewables.  In fact, the Agency now argues that over two thirds of the existing reserves of fossil fuels must be left in the ground if we are to have a chance of avoiding serious climate change.

The population of Mount Alexander Shire is responsible for around 150,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year. We should be aiming to reduce this markedly by 2020 to close to zero by 2050. To do this we need to start now.

Clearly, the technology is available. Wind power has been used for many decades as has solar pv which was first developed for the US space program in the 1950s.  All that is needed is the political will of governments and/or the individual and community will of ordinary citizens.

If governments fail us, we can step into the breach.  We can campaign, we can protest and perhaps above all, we can put our own houses in order by cutting our energy use and by installing renewable energy systems.

Photo credit: Deanna Rae Neville

Further reading:

‘How Conservative is the Abbott government’s climate change plan?‘, The Saturday Paper, March 15 2014

‘IPCC climate change report: Human role in global warming now even clearer‘, ABC News, 28 September 2013