Renewables can power the world, according to new study

November 15, 2021 by  
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A recent study published in  Nature Communications  has found that renewables can meet most of the world’s energy needs. According to the authors, even the most industrialized countries that need a heavy power supply can rely on renewable energy, specifically wind and solar.   The study was led by researchers from the University of California, Irvine, to address concerns raised by critiques of renewable energy. As the world struggles to move away from fossil fuels , those opposed to the change have argued that renewables cannot reliably meet the energy needs of industrialized nations. Related: Solar program has customers saving money from renewable energy In response, the researchers behind the study analyzed the hourly electricity needs of 42 developed countries over the past 39 years. They found that wind and solar power could cover up to 80% of the energy needs of most developed countries without the need for heavy storage. The study further found that wind and solar could cover 72-91% of energy needs in most of the countries studied. With a boost of 12-hour battery storage, wind and solar could meet 83-94% of power needs in most countries. “Wind and solar could meet more than 80 percent of demand in many places without crazy amounts of storage or excess generating capacity, which is the critical point,” said Steve Davis, UCI professor of Earth system science. “But depending on the country, there may be many multi-day periods throughout the year when some demand will need to be met by energy storage and other non-fossil energy sources in a zero-carbon future.”  Researchers collaborated with experts from China’s Tsinghua University, the Carnegie Institution for Science , and Caltech. Although the authors agree that it will not be possible to phase out fossil fuels in a flash, they say that it can be done with consistent efforts from all stakeholders. “Historic data show that countries that are farther from the equator can occasionally experience periods called ‘dark doldrums’ during which there is very limited solar and wind power availability,” said lead author Dan Tong, assistant professor of Earth system science at Tsinghua University.  The scientists gave an example of a recent situation in Germany that left the country without solar for two weeks. In reference to such situations, they say that only small countries with high power demands such as Germany may be unable to meter their energy needs. “It comes down to the difference between the difficult and the impossible. It will be hard to completely eliminate fossil fuels from our power generation mix, but we can achieve that goal when technologies , economics and socio-political will are aligned,” said Davis. Via Newswise Lead image via Pexels

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Renewables can power the world, according to new study

Can the Amazon rainforest survive?

November 15, 2021 by  
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Humans are barreling toward a catastrophic tipping point for the  Amazon rainforest , according to a recent study by more than 200 scientists. If we don’t change our habits immediately, the damage will be irreversible. According to study authors, more than a third of the Amazon rainforest has been deforested or degraded. Dry seasons continue to lengthen, and  rainfall  has decreased. Related: Amazon deforestation still high despite Brazil’s COP26 pledge The authors formed a new group, Science Panel for the Amazon (SPA). On the final scheduled day of the  COP26  climate talks in Glasgow, the group released its first dire report.  The wonders of the Amazon include a huge diversity of animals, plants and insects, with new species being discovered practically every other day. The Amazon Basin accounts for between 16-22% of global river input to oceans. Biodiversity and abundant water are crucial to the stability of local  ecosystems , regulating climate variability and governing global water cycles. On the minus side: humans. They clear  forests  to put in roads and pipelines. They contaminate water supplies, build giant hydroelectric dams, scar the landscape with open-pit mines and log indiscriminately. “At the start of the century, large-scale forest dieback was seen as a remote possibility, predicted by oversensitive models,” said Jos Barlow of Lancaster University, one of the founders of SPA, as reported by The Guardian. “However, there is now irrefutable evidence that parts of the Amazon have reached a tipping point, with  megafires , increased temperatures, reductions in rainfall. The severe social and ecological changes mean that a rethink is urgently needed. We cannot continue business as usual. The report is a first step in encouraging that rethink.” During the first week of COP26, more than a hundred countries signed a pledge to halt deforestation. These countries include  Brazil  and Ecuador, both of which contain parts of the enormous rainforest, and Canada, a big player in Amazon mining.  While many conservationists are skeptical about the follow-through of those who signed the deforestation pledge, SPA study author Erika Berenguer of the University of Oxford is staying positive. “This is a message of hope,” Berenguer said, as reported by The Guardian. “I don’t want to sound naive given what we have seen over the past three years, but this report gives clear pathways for a different future. We don’t need a forest based on destruction; we can have a future with a healthy ecosystem where people are thriving. This comes from scientists who are a cynical and sceptical bunch. We deal with evidence and we see evidence that the future can be different.” Via The Guardian Lead image via Pexels

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Can the Amazon rainforest survive?

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