Earth's Energy Systems
Date: Thursday, May 03, 2018 @ 19:55:02 GMT
Topic: Science

From We'll Need Another 363 Years to Completely Revolutionize Earth's Energy Systems by DAVID NIELD, SCIENCEALERT/19 MAR 2018

We're seeing some fantastic strides forward in renewable energy, but the problem is there's a lot of non-renewable energy to phase out – and the latest calculations suggest we aren't replacing it anywhere near as fast as we need to be.

The research indicates we need a complete energy overhaul by 2050 to avoid catastrophic climate change, but at our current rate of progress it's not going to take another 30 years – it's going to take another 363 years.

By that time it's likely to be too little too late, as temperatures rise and ice melts. Those are the figures put forward by Ken Caldeira from the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington DC, speaking to James Temple at MIT Technology Review.

Calderia and his colleagues published their first assessment in 2003, but in the 15 years since, we haven't been doing all that well. Rather than adding 1,100 megawatts of clean energy a day, we've managed an average of just 151 megawatts.

That's the equivalent of an extra 125,000 homes getting powered by renewable energy every single day. That's not terrible, but we need to be doing a lot more.

"It's a quantum leap from where we are today," Daniel Schrag, from Harvard University in Massachusetts, told MIT Technology Review.

The reasons for our sluggish reaction to the problem of climate change are many and varied. Replacing an entire planet's energy network is costly and time-consuming, not to mention politically and technically challenging...

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