Climate change: Green energy ‘stagnates’ as fossil fuels dominate
A new study says that the transition to renewables, in essence, has stalled. The use of coal, oil and gas continues to dominate total energy consumption. The share of renewable energy has moved in the last decade from 10.6% to 11.7%, but fossil fuels, all coal and gas have moved from 80.1% to 79.6% showing the situation is stagnating.
While renewable energy had reached 10% of global electricity production in 2021, the problems lie in challenging areas such as transport. Cars, lorries, ships and airplanes account for 32% of total final energy consumption, but green energy only had a 3.7% share last year.
As energy prices have risen for consumers, some countries, including the UK, have imposed new taxes on the profits made by oil and gas producers. However, many nations have also enacted new subsidies for fossil fuels. We’re spending globally $11m per minute on subsidising fossil fuel. In 2020, this was 7% of the global GDP.
This obviously creates a system which is unbalanced, because even though renewable energy is an economic alternative to fossil fuels, it’s not playing in a fair market.
The world’s largest trees are struggling to survive climate change
They are the largest trees in the world, living monuments with massive trunks and towering canopies that can thrive for 3,000 years. But ancient sequoia trees, which have been decimated by severe wildfires around California’s Sierra Nevada, are struggling to keep up with ever worsening conditions. And this summer, they could face their worst fate yet.
The trees, which grow in a narrow band of the Sierra Nevada, are accustomed to frequent wildfires — their tree rings show fire recurring every six to 30 years. But the worsening intensity of recent blazes have been too much for them to handle. Since 2020, three fires have resulted in the loss of 13 to 19 percent of the entire population. In August 2020, the Castle Fire killed up to 10,600 trees. And as many as 3,637 sequoias were killed or will ultimately die as a result of the September 2021 Windy and KNP Complex fires in the southern Sierra Nevada, according to the National Park Service.
Sequoias have thick bark that can withstand lower-intensity fire, and their high canopies are usually above the flames, but recent fires are reaching and consuming the canopy.
The southern Sierra, hard hit during the 2012-2016 drought, has become an epicenter for tree mortality. Drought-weakened trees, particularly pine and cedar, were killed by insects during those years, and the effects of the past two years of extreme drought are also becoming apparent. Given record-setting dryness in 2022, another significant die-off is possible this year. Hotter and longer fire seasons due to climate change are exacerbating already volatile forest conditions.