Climate Action: They Said NO To Coal
With the serious threat of climate change that our world is facing, has the world actually taken notice?
The good news is that we have gone far from simply debating about whether or not man-caused climate change is real. In fact, many of our world leaders came together with a pact we now know as the Paris Agreement, which is under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. It pushes to accelerate and intensify global efforts on climate change mitigation and adaptation as well as to provide support for developing countries to do so.
It is in this agreement that a limit to global temperature rise of 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels has been set, although parties are still to give their best efforts in pursuing to keep the increase below 1.5 degrees Celsius. The Philippines is a Non-Annex I Party to the Convention.
So, let us look at some of the success stories already achieved by different countries in working towards a sustainable, low-carbon future.
United Kingdom hit zero coal power generation in May 2016 and is now getting more power from wind, solar and other renewable energy (Story: UK energy from coal hits zero for first time in over 100 years).
Germany practically paid customers for using electricity when its renewable energy generation reached a record-breaking high in May 2016, courtesy of a sunny and windy weather, pushing power prices so low that it became negative for several hours (Source: Germany PAYS people to use electricity).
In July 2015, Denmark produced more wind power than they needed that they were able to export the excess energy to Germany, Norway and Sweden. Denmark is considered the world leader in wind energy, producing 42% of its electricity in 2015 from wind turbines (Story: Wind power generates 140% of Denmark’s electricity demand).
Small country Costa Rica met 100% of its power need using renewable energy for 75 straight days in 2015. Yes, that would be 75 days of clean, no-emission electricity. The nation’s road to clean power actually started even before it became a global concern. It is supported mainly by hydro power and a mixture of geothermal, wind, biomass and solar energy (Story: Costa Rica powered with 100% renewable energy for 75 straight days).
Last year, China, the world’s largest carbon emitter and also a Non-Annex I Party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, amped up its solar and wind energy capacity by 74% and 34% respectively and reduced coal consumption by 3.7%. This is promising news, especially since China contributes a large portion of the total greenhouse gas emissions of the world (Story: China Renewable Energy Growth Soars & Coal Use Declines).
Several other countries have pushed for climate action as well (I’m looking forward to sharing successful climate action stories in the Philippines too!), and all these efforts should give us hope that we would reach our goal of achieving a sustainable, low carbon society and keeping global temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius.