How energy usage contributes to climate breakdown
In the modern world we have become dependent on electrical energy to power our lives. Unfortunately 75% of our energy is provided by polluting non-renewable sources.
Coal is the most widely used energy source. It also emits more carbon than any other fossil fuel. Next up is natural gas. It might sound ‘green’ but much like coal it produces carbon when burned. Then there’s oil, it’s only a small part of our total energy consumption, but it’s the second biggest emitter behind coal. Finally, nuclear which is the cleanest of the non-renewables, but it’s still responsible for emissions.
It’s worth noting renewable sources such as wind, solar and hydro electricity also have a carbon footprint from their production, but all have a lower environmental impact and won’t run out.
What stops us from choosing renewable energy?
- Cost - Buying renewable energy can be more expensive than non-renewable sources (though this is changing fast). Creating your own solar or wind energy also has an upfront construction cost.
- Availability - There isn’t enough renewable energy being produced (yet) to cover our daily usage. Some of our homes may also be in areas where no renewable energy supplier is available.
- Awareness - A lot of people don’t think much about their energy provider, nor have they looked to see if there is a renewable alternative.
- Effort - Changing your energy supplier might create hassle for you in order to make the switch - so you don’t.
- Acting on climate change represents a trade-off between short-term and long-term benefits, which is the hardest trade-off for people to make. Ignoring it in the short-term is easy as we don’t have to make any personal sacrifices.
What you can do now
The easiest thing to do is find a local renewable energy supplier and make the switch.
Start by checking with your existing energy supplier, many already give you the option to choose a green energy source over non-renewables. It may cost you a bit more, but it’s the easiest way to change. It’s also worthwhile researching other suppliers near you. You might find a better price.
If you don’t have a renewable option with your existing supplier it’s time to shop around. A quick search online for ‘Renewable energy supplier + your location’ should point you in the right direction.
How much would this help?
100% renewable energy is likely inevitable. But to prevent climate breakdown we must achieve 100% renewable energy as quickly as possible. By choosing a renewable provider today you are voting for your preference, and the more votes each provider gets the more likely they are to speed up the development of their renewable sources. With more demand supply and competition will increase, driving costs down for all of us.
Create your own energy supply by installing solar panels or wind turbines
While creating your own renewable energy source has an upfront cost, it will likely benefit you financially over the long term.
With solar how much you can save depends on factors such as direct hours of daily sunlight and your local electricity rate. In some places you can even get paid for any excess power you can provide to the electricity grid. That’s right — get paid for your energy!
Wind is another option. It can generate you energy 24 hours a day but there are some downsides. Wind requires more specialised maintenance, it can be noisy, unsightly and dangerous to birds.
Most people choose solar as it’s easier to install, less maintenance and doesn’t get in peoples way. Consider which option best suits your location.
How much would this help?
Having your own supply means other people can use the currently limited renewable sources from existing energy suppliers. If everyone has renewable energy available to them we’d be a lot closer to eliminating our dependency on coal, gas, oil and nuclear energy.
Don't assume everyone knows they should use renewable energy to help prevent climate breakdown. We need everyone to become informed so they can also make a choice about their energy source.
Has ClimateChoice helped you make changes?
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Help change the system
Support the people, groups and parties who prioritise the planet
All global warming could be helped by changes to laws across the world which prioritise the planet. Find your local candidates who promise to prioritise the planet and support them.
Get involved on a grassroots level with activist groups and charities trying to raise awareness.
How can I do even more?
Become a vocal advocate of helping prevent climate breakdown. You could stand as a political candidate prioritising the planet, join an activist group or charity.
Why not start your own business or charity trying to fix a problem associated with climate change.
Too long; didn't read?
We’re killing the planet. 75% of our energy is supplied from the greenhouse gas emitting sources coal, gas, oil and nuclear. To reduce these we must:
- Transition to renewable energy providers
- Consider generating your own energy with solar or wind
- Vote for those who prioritize the planet
- Spread the word so others make changes too