Recent NASA figures reveal that global temperatures rose by 0.13°C in 2015, and by a further 0.16°C last year. These record-breaking temperatures demonstrate that the much talked about ‘global warming’ is very real – and is happening at an alarming rate. Many nations are at risk from extreme weather events as a result of the global climate shift – including Australia, which faces an estimated 300% rise in serious flooding events if global warming follows current projections and predictions.
To combat the risk faced by climate change, companies and individuals are being urged to take more responsibility for their energy use. Wasted fossil fuels and their pressure on the environment is thought to be a leading cause of global warming, and reducing reliance on traditional power sources in favour of low-carbon renewable energy could make a big difference to the lifespan and health of the planet.
Companies develop 100% renewable energy policies
The search engine and tech giant already buys more than half of its power from solar and wind farms; 100% of Google’s energy will be purchased from renewable sources in 2017. By the end of the year, the company plans to buy enough renewable energy to cover all power used by its offices, research facilities and data centers. Meanwhile, other companies are following suit and stepping into the world of sustainable energy use.
Apple is close to Google with 93% of its 100% target reached, and leading companies like Facebook and Starbucks have also pledged to switch to environmentally friendly energy sources for all operations.
Development of alternative energy sources
Australia has long been a pioneer of renewable energy sources, thanks to a climate that lends itself to power generation. Figures from 2015 show that 4.9% of total energy is being produced by wind turbines, and there are close to 100 wind farms throughout the nation. Solar power and hydroelectric power are other forms of sustainable power which are growing rapidly.
Controversially, companies who have a focus on renewable energy are also considering the benefits of nuclear power. Nuclear energy has a bad reputation and is thought of as dangerous and unclean, but modern developments have allowed the harnessing of nuclear power with far less waste. Plus, there are schools of thought which call nuclear power a renewable source: atoms are diverted and changed but not destroyed, so there is potential for waste to be reclaimed and recycled.
Solar towns and communities
In addition to the focus on business power, towns, cities and communities will also be encouraged to embrace sustainable power. The government is making grants available to local officials for solar projects, installing panels which can capture solar energy and convert it for electricity. Australia gets around 150 sunny days every year, so there is plenty of opportunity to collect power without burning more fossil fuels and adding to the global temperature rise.
Global initiatives such as the solar bins in the UK and Amsterdam, or the Japanese solar road concept, are changing how we look at power generation. If everyday objects like streets and buildings can be made to collect and convert energy, we could slow down the rate our fuel resources are being used: and hopefully slow down the global thermal heating process at the same time.
Expect to see big changes in how power is sourced – and hopefully a drop in energy prices as well. Renewable energy might seem expensive to invest in, but the benefits and the long term savings are impressive – with the added bonus of helping the planet and preventing the rise in natural disasters.