When I was growing up in the 90s the concept of consumption and the definition of "energy efficient" was very different to what it is today. Back then it was all about making small changes: fixing leaky facets, throwing food waste on the compost heap, carpooling to school. Halogen light bulbs were considered the saviours of planet Earth and my father was always quick to remind me to turn off the lights when I left a room. For a time, it seemed as though this was enough to combat the dangers of climate change.
However, what it means to be environmentally aware in the modern world is vastly different. We are now being told that these little changes are not enough, and that we should all band together and make significant alterations to our lifestyles -- many of which come at a steep cost -- to ensure the longevity of our planet and species. Not that I'm complaining!
Fortunately, we (at least the majority of us) haven't ignored the facts and stats. Despite Mr. Trump's outlandish claims that global warming is a Chinese conspiracy designed to upset America's economy, most of us will agree and accept that changes MUST be made. And switching to a renewable provider is the best place to start.
Electric cars seem to be the newest and best way that we, the general consumers, can do our bit. Thanks to Tesla, EVs are starting to make a major dent on the fossil fuel market; or more specifically, the filling station and gas industry. But, while they're advertised as zero emissions vehicles -- and there's no doubt whatsoever that electric cars themselves are more environmentally friendly than petrol and diesel cars -- they are only as clean as their power supply.
According to Scientific American, cars and trucks account for 24% of greenhouse emissions in the United States; and at present (2017) electric cars account for only 0.01 percent of all vehicles on the road. However, if current trends continue this could rise to 33 percent by 2040. Just imagine the extra pressure this would place onto power plants. It's great that so many countries want to ban petrol and diesel fuelled cars, but we're going to need a major boost in both the supply and demand for renewable energy before that happens. And the only way we're going to get this is if we all make the switch in our homes.
But things are looking up!
Renewable energy has reached a tipping point. According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), solar panels now hold the top spot for being the cheapest energy supply, beating both coal and natural gas. This means that green energy is no longer only for the wealthy or environmentally conscious, it even makes sense for those who don't give a damn about global warming. The scientists have done their fair share, now it's time for us -- as in society -- to start making changes. Money is no longer an excuse!
Despite the current reduction deficit, it's not too little too late
The UK has met and exceeded targets, reducing emissions 42% below 1990 levels in 2016, and is also on track to out-perform the second and third targets (though not yet the forth). That's an accomplishment to be proud of, and one that I'm sure we all hope will continue to be a priority, even with Brexit hogging all the Government's attention.
However, scientists state that the world needs to be completely emission-free well before 2040. Under the current Climate Change Act target, the UK are only set to reduce emissions by 80% by 2050. While you may think that it's all just too little, too late, it's important to remember that Government policy is dictated by the majority. If we change, the rules will change. And I for one don't want to live in a world where we can't look back and say "We gave it our best shot."
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