THE FOSSIL-FUEL ADDICTION

THE FOSSIL-FUEL ADDICTION

Currently, greenhouse gas emissions are still rising, a team of scientists from Stanford University, within the Global Carbon Project found out. A 2010 NASA study confirms that Earth’s average surface temperature rose by 0.8 degrees Celsius over the last century. The Arctic is exhibiting record melting levels. And Greenland alone contributes to ocean rise by a millimeter per year.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said that by 2050, all greenhouse gas emissions must halt, in order to avoid global temperatures from rising above 1.5 degrees Celsius.

But “for three years, we saw flat greenhouse gas emissions at the same time [that] the world economy grew. That was good news. We hoped that represented peak emissions. It didn’t,” said Robert Jackson, professor of Earth system science.

GLOBAL EMISSIONS REACHED A RECORD LEVEL

Between 2017 and 2018, the U.S. output of greenhouse gas rose by 2.7 percent. China’s output is estimated at 4.7 percent and India’s at 6.3 percent, while the European Union’s increased by only 0.7 percent. All in all, that means 36.2 billion metric tons.

In the United States, heating and cooling homes and various other structures during a cold winter and a hot summer, increased fossil fuel emissions. The decline of oil price increased the purchasing of larger cars and trucks. The rapid development of economy in India gets it to finance and build any available energy project, as to bring electricity to millions of people that don’t have access to it, while China is incentivizing heavy industry and coal-power projects.

With drivers both meteorological and economic related, the global picture being quite complex. But “every coal plant they build is likely to be polluting 40 years from now,” professor Jackson said.

THE GOOD NEWS

Despite the trends, 15 gigawatts of coal plants in the U.S. are expected to close this year – which is a record. Also, Canada and the U.S. decreased coal consumption by about 40 percent in the last 13 years. And “the pricing for wind and solar is now competitive with that of fossil fuels, in many cases,” Robert Jackson said, more optimistic.

Although emissions rise quickly, scientists still believe that green energy will prevail. But the question is how much more warming will occur and how hard will it be to counterbalance it in the future. And will the fossil-fuel addiction be replaced by green and clean energy production

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