We have reported on several innovations, new processes, subsidies and business strategies all aimed at reversing global warming or at least capping temperature rise at 1.5° – 2°C compared to the pre-industrial age.
However, what we see is that even under the most optimistic scenarios, humankind is only meeting roughly three-quarters of energy demand growth through renewable energy. Hence, the math does not add up, and we remain heavily dependent on fossil energy sources to satisfy global energy hunger.
Another input factor to the equation has been underestimated for so long and needs to be considered and further developed.
Fight global poverty: Studies show that a relationship exists between economic growth and environmental quality. A rise of gross domestic product (GDP) per capita indeed has adverse effects on the environment, related to the intensified use of resources. What’s also true is that at a specific point, a further rise in GDP also leads to reductions in environmental degradation. This effect is illustrated in the Kuznets Curve below. It relates to (i) limited income results in limited options, (ii) the ecological trade-off only becomes an option at a certain income, (iii) technological progress, and (iv) behavior change, to only name a few.
In short, helping emerging economies in their development by opening access to the newest decarbonized energy generating technologies can result in a leap in green technology adoption and avoid fossil energy use.
A second factor to the equation is an essential change in the mindset across the western world in regards to energy and resource consumption. In other words, what can everyone contribute to boost the energy transition?
As a start, we want to get away from the notions of prohibition and abstinence as an option when it comes to goods and services. A first step on this very personal journey could be an assessment of the status quo – what is the effect on Plant Earth of my current behavior and consumption? Doing this, you can calculate your footprint and see how many planets you would need in order to legitimate your resource usage.
We have taken this assessment and, to be honest, were disgusted by the result. Consequently, we are encouraged to contribute even more and follow the easy-to-apply measures to our everyday lives:
- Assess your energy supplier and ask for the renewable energy ratio they provide within their energy mix. Who knows?, this might result in a cost-saving as well.
- Can you walk or ride your bicycle to work once a month or week? – Don’t worry, you could use Beryl Bikes or Tier Scooters as well.
- Can you try a new vegetarian dish once a week?
- Choose regional products or secondhand markets when shopping. We love the milk, eggs, apples and other products of the farmer in our neighborhood.
- Can you apply a sticker to your post box so you do not receive advertisements if you don’t read them anyway?
- Have a look at your wardrobe: do you need all of that stuff? Others might need it.
- Install a programmable thermostat to reduce your heating costs.
- Plant a tree.
- Take your lunch to work in a reusable container.
- Use a kitchen cloth instead of paper towels.
- Regularly check your car tires for optimal air pressure.
- Use the home office if your employer offers this option.
If this article was not enough of a wake-up call for you, then check out the Netflix film of David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet. It’s well with your time.