The Challenges of Renewable Energy on World Earth Day 2024

The Challenges of Renewable Energy on World Earth Day 2024

The Next Two Years: Renewable Energy on World Earth Day 2024

The “next two years are essential in saving our planet,” according to Simon Stiell, the executive secretary of the UN climate change panel, in a recent speech. In the context of the desire to accomplish development, increase employment, and reduce poverty and inequality, among other things, headlines about record-breaking heat, water shortages, and other environmental challenges frequently appear.

However, little is known about how development, sustainability, and mitigating climate change are related to one another. The greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that our existing paradigms of development promote are unfair and unsustainable. While India intends to attain Net Zero GHG emissions by 2070, mostly through a large-scale shift to renewable energy, it is unclear at the local and national levels how this shift will affect sustainability or developmental outcomes.

Let’s use large-scale solar parks as an example. These are a crucial component of India’s mitigation approach. Although there are solar parks on 214 square kilometres of land, some studies suggest that we may need between 50,000 and 75,000 square kilometres—roughly half the size of Tamil Nadu—to meet our Net Zero targets. Don’t miss:- Haven’t activated Windows 10 or 11 yet? Your Microsoft Edge settings may soon be blocked off entirely, in 2024

1. Renewable Energy: A Vital Solution

Power produced by organic materials including sunlight, wind, water, and biomass is referred to as renewable energy. In contrast to fossil fuels, which release greenhouse gasses and consume finite resources, renewable energy provides a sustainable substitute. Let’s examine its importance:

Environmental Impact

Renewable energy reduces carbon emissions, curbing the effects of climate change. It minimizes air and water pollution, safeguarding ecosystems and human health.

Resource Preservation

We protect non-renewable resources for future generations by using natural ingredients. Alternatives such as biogas, hydroelectric electricity, solar energy, and wind energy are all practical and significant.

2. Solar Parks: A Double-Edged Sword

Large-scale solar parks are a key pillar of India’s mitigation strategy. However, their impact varies at local and national levels:

Local Experiences

Bhadla, Rajasthan: Farmers lost sacred common lands (Orans), and pastoralists faced shrinking grazing areas due to solar park expansion. Pavagada, Karnataka: Some farmers benefited from leasing land for solar parks, providing steady income from otherwise drought-stricken land.

Water and Land Competition

Solar panels require substantial water for cleaning, yet national estimates do not account for nearby water sources. Solar park expansion may compete with agriculture and other livelihoods, affecting food security.

3. Wind Energy Challenges

Wind energy, while renewable, poses specific challenges:

Bird Ecosystems

Wind turbines can harm bird populations, necessitating careful planning and monitoring. Balancing clean energy goals with ecological conservation is essential.

4. Employment and District-Level Impact

Large-scale renewable energy projects can have positive employment outcomes:

District-Level Benefits

Job creation in construction, maintenance, and operation. Economic growth in local communities.

Equity Considerations

Disparities between large and small landowners. Ensuring equitable distribution of benefits.

5. Climate Justice and Collective Action

Achieving Net Zero GHG emissions by 2070 requires a just transition. Collective action, policy changes, and sustainable practices are essential for a greener future.

In conclusion, renewable energy holds immense promise, but its implementation must be guided by environmental justice, community well-being, and long-term sustainability. On World Earth Day 2024, let us commit to a cleaner, more equitable energy future for our planet.

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