It might seem impossible. But the more I am thinking about it, the more I believe it actually can be done if both public and political will were here.
After more than a year of blogging, I outline a summary of all the eleven ideas I came across. Hope you will enjoy this article !
The situation at hand :
The global energy needs are due to double by 2050, as developing countries see their energy consumption explode (+15% per annum in China last year)
Meanwhile, developed nations of Europe and North America see their consumption increase as well, yet much more slowly.
Decreasing our energy consumption can be done, we will see it below. Additionally, alternatives with much lower emissions also exist.
The combination of both is an exciting new prospect as it will create million of jobs worldwide and a real new world order that can actually benefit whole Mankind.
Some actions might enable us to reverse this phenomenon. Here are the eleven I thought of after more than a year of blogging on this matter :
The 11 solutions :
Massive campaigns of buildings insulation could enable us to save a lot of money and carbon dioxide emissions as it is estimated that insulated houses and buildings could decrease at least by a factor four their energy consumption.
This sector is responsible for 40 percent of the total energy consumption of Europe and around 25 % of its greenhouse gases emissions. It is high time for our governments to tackle this predominant issue. (more)
In parallel to the insulation of housings, getting us rid of fossil fuel heating should be done. Oil prices won’t stop there in their increase and so will natural gas’ prices since they are indexed on oil prices.
Furthermore, peak oil inexorably nears. Oil prices increased by 20 % since the beginning of the year. As this is most likely to continue, heating our homes with fossil fuels will be more and more a luxury. On the other hand, thermal renewables make a lot of sense with good insulation.
Banning purely and simply all incandescent light bulbs might enable coal intensive countries – ie. most of countries with Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom, but also China, India or Australia – to cut drastically greenhouse gases emissions as fluo compact light bulbs consume five times less electricity.
Similarly, replacing – and recycling – all old appliances like refrigerators and freezers with A+ efficient ones might also make us save huge amounts of energy. (more)
Putting less lights at night in the streets of our cities would also enable us to save a lot of energy and thus a lot of greenhouse gases emissions.
This would also save billions of Dollars and Euros to communities that are more in more in financial problems.
This would also protect fauna and flora and would enable the thousands of astronomers a better night sky quality. (more)
There is also a lot to do in transport. From improving the mileage of cars and trucks to giving more space to bicycles in our cities to promoting the train over the plane when applicable, many things have to be done.
Hybrid vehicules are also a great alternative as we now have a myriad of ways to produce low carbon electricity.
Fortunately enough a revolution begins slowly to take place. (more)
Solar PV and other electrical renewables are great as they emit more than 30 times less than coal fired plants.
So these polluting solutions would become only back up of the solar panels and other wind turbines and not the only solution to bring electricity.
it is time to embrace the 21st century and stop implementing coal fired plants as countries like Germany and Italy still plan to do . (more)
- Eating differently will also bring several improvements for the affluent countries as more and more people are obese.
The consumption of red meat leads to important emissions as bovines emit a lot of methane, a very potent greenhouse gas.
Eating less meat and more cereals, fruits and vegetables (as much as possible from local sources) would bring several other improvements for everybody.
- Sorting out a lot more our waste would also enable us to cut drastically our carbon footprint. Composting and recycling what can be composted and recycled would lead to lower needs of fertilizers and raw materials. This is another win win win situation as each and everyone would benefit from extended recycling.
It is high time for us to address the problems that landfills are for our environment and our countries.
- Not very popular, yet very efficient way to cut in large ways our greenhouse gases emissions, is nuclear power as it emits 50 times less than coal fired plants and 25 times less than natural gas ones over their lifetime.
With EPR technology and the likes, energy efficiency and security are increased while the amount of waste is significantly decreased. Of course other issues remain (waste disposal, security…) but there are no perfect solution. (more)
- Fighting deforestation in tropical countries and planting trees is another great way to avert climate change as trees literally absorb carbon dioxide over their lifetime.
Trees prevent soil erosion and are also a great way to reduce the importance of floods. Afforesting will have to be done once deforestation have stopped as well.
As I learned by reading Collapse, the civilization of Easter Island disappeared because it had cut all its trees. Let us not suffer the same fate. (more)
- Last but not least, a global change of behavioral models should occur. Explaining to people that the Earth is not infinite and that we have to take care of it should be fundamental. French people already hear they have to save energy as it is our future, but this should be pushed further much more. As I read last year in Le Plein s’il vous plait [Fr], we should go from ” always more and more ” to ” much less “. Let us embrace new values of quality over quantity…
Of course, all this won’t be easy and won’t be done overnight. Of course it will cost huge amounts of money… but inaction would cost us much more comparing to the soaring prices of fossil energies, the cost of climate change-related phenomena…
Once again, this shouldn’t be considered as a COST but as an INVESTMENT or as an OPPORTUNITY.
And you, dear reader, what do you believe it can be done ? Do you think I forgot some other ways that might enable us to put a term to the threat that is climate change ?