The Energy Sector – Part I By Kathleen Rall
June 1, 2022
I once heard a climate speaker suggesting that we need to start getting our energy from heaven instead of hell. Whatever your beliefs about the higher and lower realms, you know that we now obtain most of our energy from fossil fuels (deep underground, mostly in the U.S. and Asia) and uranium (also underground, mostly in Australia and Kazakhstan), whereas solar and wind energy come from above our heads. “From darkness, lead us to light”, a Hindu chant, comes to mind.
According to the latest International Energy Agency report, “the energy sector is the source of around three-quarters of greenhouse gas emissions today and holds the key to averting the worst effects of climate change.” If we are to avoid a climate catastrophe we must radically and rapidly change the energy sector. Solar and wind capacity must increase 400% by 2030, and electric car sales must increase 1800%. Yikes!
What does this mean for you and me? We have to change our transportation methods, our heating and cooling and cooking methods, and our consumption patterns. Global emissions total about 51 billion tons yearly, and about 55% of the needed reduction in emissions is related to consumer choices. That’s us! So, our choosing to purchase an EV for our next vehicle, or our conversion of our gas-heated home to a heat pump system can be part of the solution.
We can start by subscribing to one of the renewable energy suppliers, billed through our current electricity provider. ( Go to https://www.mdelectricchoice.com/shop and search for one of the providers with 100% renewable energy.) Also, we could participate in one of the community solar projects or a solar co-op. (The Capital Area Solar Co-op can be reached via www.solarunitedneighbors.org ). In Montgomery County a community choice solar pilot has been approved so that whole communities can choose to buy only clean energy in the future.
When we make the change to clean renewable energy, we encourage more rapid build-out of solar and wind power. We also discourage more extraction and transporting of fossil fuels. Power is in the people and the people want clean energy!
So, instead of reaching a mile down for fracked gas and oil, let’s reach for the skies. The sun and wind technologies we already have can dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, while we research more and better ways to capture carbon, reach zero by 2050, and stop heating our future world.