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How we lost another decade to climate change

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With evolving the technology to today’s levels one would think that the risks to our planet would be nonexistent by now. However that’s not the case, we failed in the last decade spectacularly. The only measurement that matters is greenhouse gas emissions, and they continue to rise.

Our failure to stop committing these gases even though we could have catastrophic warming, is really worrying and shows a lot. Our last 10 years almost certainly removes the dream of halting rising temperatures at 1.5 ˚C. There were faint signs of progress. Renewables and electric vehicles finally took off, and nearly 200 countries committed to cutting their emissions under the landmark Paris climate agreement in 2016. 

Data accessed on Dec. 4, 2019
Chart: Keeling, Ralph F.; Keeling, Charles D.  Source: Scripps CO2 Program Data  Get the data  Created with Datawrapper

Environmental impacts

Decades of rising emissions continued to do what scientists have long warned they would: make the world hotter. This chart below , using data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, clearly highlights the rise in global land temperatures above the 20th-century average. Note the particularly pronounced increase in the last 10 years.


Renewables

Global electricity generation from renewables, primarily wind and solar, soared from about 550 terawatt-hours in 2008 to nearly 2,500 in 2018, according to the 2019 BP Statistical Review of World Energy.

But here’s what that growth looks like in the context of the total power sector. Renewables are the thin green slice on top, rising but dwarfed by other sources.

Source: 2019 BP Statistical Review of World Energy  Get the data  Created with Datawrapper

How we can save the planet?

By the end of the century, the global electricity system may need to be five times larger to meet projected population growth, rising standards of living, and the “electrification” of larger parts of the economy. That includes the growing use of electricity to fuel cars, run stoves, and heat buildings.

Source: Breakthrough Institute  Get the data  Created with Datawrapper

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