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World Environment Day 2021. The key role of renewable energy

World Environment Day 2021. The key role of renewable energy

World Environment Day 2021. The key role of renewable energy


Climate change 7


On June 5, World Environment Day 2021 is celebrated with Pakistan as host and with the restoration of ecosystems as the question.

The UN is the promoter of this date, which has been celebrated since 1974, and cedes the position of host to a different country each time. Colombia had this honor on World Environment Day 2020, which dealt with the planet's biodiversity and organized the official celebrations. This year, the selected country was the Asian country thanks to its project to plant 10 billion trees in 5 years and contribute to the reforestation of its territory.

The recovery of ecosystems would help combat poverty and hunger, as we would have more resources and more areas in which to contribute to the human race.

The restoration of ecosystems is a joint task and involves the renewal or recovery of environments to ensure the survival of species of living beings, the renewal of natural resources necessary for humans and a lesser effect of greenhouse gases that they cause. the breakdown of the ozone layer and contribute to the acceleration of climate change. If this does not seem enough to you, last year a study was published in the journal Nature in which it was ensured that the preservation of ecosystems prevented the increase in populations of animals transmitting potentially pandemic diseases, such as covid-19.

The data is truly worrying and helps to dimension the concept of “climate change” that we hear so many times:

  • Freshwater ecosystems -such as wetlands, ponds, lakes, swamps, springs, rivers, etc.- have reduced their presence by 30% since the 1970s. This affects numerous animal and plant species that have reduced their population due to the degradation of their habitat.
  • Following the current trend, in 2050 there are expected to be about 700 million people who will have to leave their home as climate refugees. One of the main causes of this fact will be the lack of drinking water, for which wars could start, and the rise in the level of the oceans.
  • Ground degradation will cause a 30% increase in the price of food products by mid-century. This could lead to other conflicts due to lack of food among the world's poorest population.
  • Air pollution from fuel for household appliances caused more than 4 million deaths worldwide in 2015.
  • In the near future, the degradation of terrestrial ecosystems will lead to the disappearance of forests, as well as the disappearance of plant and animal species and the appearance of others that are more resistant to more arid climatic conditions. In fact, in the Mediterranean area, forecasts indicate that a large part of the forests will disappear and large areas of scrub will emerge, highly flammable with heat and, therefore, the number of fires will increase.

Goal 7. Sustainable and clean energy

This edition is important because it marks the beginning of the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. This project led by the United Nations Environment Program and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations includes a 10-year stage of action to “prevent, stop and reverse the degradation of ecosystems in all areas. continents and oceans” and fight against climate change.

The final objective is to guarantee the achievement of the objectives of the 2030 Agenda to obtain equality between people, protection of the planet and prosperity through sustainable development. It is intended to reach this situation through the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is in charge of executing the action plan for the 2030 Agenda. It advocates the cohesion of the territory as an essential condition to achieve the 17 objectives at the Spanish level.

These goals address various topics: quality education for everyone, ending hunger and poverty, or climate action. However, in our world of renewable energies we also have work, the seventh objective is "Sustainable and non-polluting energy". The goal pursued is to ensure "affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern" energy for all humanity, something that represents a real challenge in the short term, since it is estimated that more than 1,200 million -1 of every 5- people currently has no access to electricity.

The UN, in collaboration with other entities, has created the Energy Progress Report, a portal in which different data can be checked related to the energy objective by country, such as access to electricity or energy efficiency. In the section on renewable energies we can see how these in Spain account for 15.6% of the total energy consumed, a figure higher than the US (9.9%), but far from countries such as Norway (61.2% ) or Sweden (52.3%), in Europe, or many other African countries.

In addition, the use of renewable energy as the main source of obtaining energy will avoid the emission of greenhouse gases, which cause the destruction of the ozone layer and affect climate change. Among the many options to reduce the impact on the environment there is also the circular economic model, the respect of companies for the environment in which they carry out their activity or with something as simple as completely turn off appliances when we are not using them.

Although we will learn about the circular economy in a future article, it stands out for following a way of producing and consuming that favors an increase in the life cycle of products.

IRENA is an intergovernmental organization that supports countries in the energy transition towards a more sustainable future. The data it offers allows us to see how this transition has started in Spain and in 2020 its solar energy production capacity has increased considerably. However, the most outstanding thing is how over a decade this capacity has practically tripled, as well as the increase in the capacity of wind energy. At Lumisa, we are proud to contribute a small part of that increase through self-consumption. We want to help achieve this seventh goal and create a more sustainable future in which natural resources are used more effectively.

Sources:

  • UN
  • IRENA
  • Government of Spain

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