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< prev - next > Environment and adaptation to climate change KnO 100163_Renewable Energy and Climate Change (Printable PDF)
An important aspect of renewable energy development is the displacement of polluting energy
source. With the rising in governments', aid agencies' and other funders' awareness of the
climate change problem, carbon off-setting and low-carbon funds have been set up to promote
technologies which contribute to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, in
recent years there has been an increase in private sector off-setting carbon emissions by
investing in low-carbon technologies.
A diverse range of mature renewable energy
technologies is now available, including
small hydro power, wind power, solar
photovoltaic, biofuels and geothermal.
These use local natural resources to meet
energy needs. As a result of the concern
about global warming, a whole new area of
investment opportunities has been opened
up for the development of these
Climate change
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change – the most authoritative
international body on this subject – has
clearly demonstrated that climate change
is already happening, that it is due to
human activity, and that temperatures
could rise on average between 2oC and
4oC over the coming century. The
impacts of climate change range form
flood to drought and from freshwater
scarcity to hunger, with these impacts
greatest in developing countries as they
often lie in vulnerable climactic zones,
and have limited capacity and resources
to adapt. From the pie charts it is clear
that CO2 emission from the energy sector are the major cause of climate change.
CO2 from energy sources
A move from using fossil fuels to using renewable energy is one way of mitigating climate change
by significantly reducing emissions of CO2. In order to calculate the CO2 saving from using
renewable, it is important to compare the carbon emissions from the different technologies. This
is shown in the table as tonnes of CO2 emissions per unit of energy produced.
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