The generation of energy to supply the world’s ever-growing demand for power and heat is one of the biggest contributors to global warming, so it follows that the energy sector could, in turn, be one of the hardest hit by the impacts of climate change. Certainly, that’s the gist of a new Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change analysis and infographic released this week as part of its Fifth Assessment Report.
“Climate change presents increasing challenges for energy production and transmission,” the report says. “A progressive temperature increase, an increasing number and severity of extreme weather events and changing precipitation patterns will affect energy production and delivery. The supply of fossil fuels, and thermal and hydropower generation and transmission, will also be affected.”
The good news? Adaptation options exist. “Significant cuts in GHG emissions from energy can be achieved through a variety of measures,” says the IPCC, including by improving energy efficiency in transmission and distribution, switching to lower-carbon fuels, and increasing use of renewable generation. Just like the “international consortium of scientists” quoted in satirical online news source, The Onion, last month, the IPCC report has “gently reminded the world …that clean energy technologies are pretty much ready to go anytime.” But is anyone listening?
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