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A Completely Renewable Future Isn’t As Far-Fetched as We Think
New research suggests that converting all of our energy to renewable energy might actually be possible by 2050.
It’s hip to talk about renewable energy these days, but do you ever wonder how realistic it would be to convert all our energy to renewable sources such as wind and solar? A recent collaborative study between Stanford and UC Berkeley found that actually the entire world could be powered by renewables as early as 2050, given the right kind of research and investment. The researchers looked at maps to estimate what various types of energy demands will be like in the future all over the world, and concluded that an entirely renewable world isn’t as distant of a possibility as we might think.
Part of the reason that the researchers decided they believe in a renewable world had to do with the continually falling price of renewable energy sources. Wind energy, for instance, is already cheaper than natural gas, so in the coming years the price of converting to or building new renewable power sources won’t be quite as intimidating as it is now. Additionally, researchers mentioned that converting to renewable energy sources will lower health care costs that would otherwise result from poor air quality caused by polluting fuels.
Climate change has been on the world’s radar for many years, and gets framed quite differently depending on who you talk to. Some see climate change as a very imminent threat to human existence on the planet, while others don’t quite believe that it’s happening. Which side is right?
Well, it turns out there might be some truth to both beliefs. New research suggests that the most dangerous effects of climate change might actually be about a century away. So while climate change is certainly coming, this new information might actually be positive news for our chances of impacting its progression. If we act now and over the next few years, we may actually have enough time to achieve that fully renewable vision before the dangerous side effects of climate change kick in. With enough planning, human beings should be able to stick around the planet for quite a while yet to come.
"You dream about these kinds of moments when you're a kid," said lead paleontologist David Schmidt.
- The triceratops skull was first discovered in 2019, but was excavated over the summer of 2020.
- It was discovered in the South Dakota Badlands, an area where the Triceratops roamed some 66 million years ago.
- Studying dinosaurs helps scientists better understand the evolution of all life on Earth.
Credit: David Schmidt / Westminster College<p style="margin-left: 20px;">"We had to be really careful," Schmidt told St. Louis Public Radio. "We couldn't disturb anything at all, because at that point, it was under law enforcement investigation. They were telling us, 'Don't even make footprints,' and I was thinking, 'How are we supposed to do that?'"</p><p>Another difficulty was the mammoth size of the skull: about 7 feet long and more than 3,000 pounds. (For context, the largest triceratops skull ever unearthed was about <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02724634.2010.483632" target="_blank">8.2 feet long</a>.) The skull of Schmidt's dinosaur was likely a <em>Triceratops prorsus, </em>one of two species of triceratops that roamed what's now North America about 66 million years ago.</p>
Credit: David Schmidt / Westminster College<p>The triceratops was an herbivore, but it was also a favorite meal of the T<em>yrannosaurus rex</em>. That probably explains why the Dakotas contain many scattered triceratops bone fragments, and, less commonly, complete bones and skulls. In summer 2019, for example, a separate team on a dig in North Dakota made <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/26/science/triceratops-skull-65-million-years-old.html" target="_blank">headlines</a> after unearthing a complete triceratops skull that measured five feet in length.</p><p>Michael Kjelland, a biology professor who participated in that excavation, said digging up the dinosaur was like completing a "multi-piece, 3-D jigsaw puzzle" that required "engineering that rivaled SpaceX," he jokingly told the <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/26/science/triceratops-skull-65-million-years-old.html" target="_blank">New York Times</a>.</p>
Morrison Formation in Colorado
James St. John via Flickr
|Credit: Nobu Tamura/Wikimedia Commons|
The world's 10 most affected countries are spending up to 59% of their GDP on the effects of violence.
- Conflict and violence cost the world more than $14 trillion a year.
- That's the equivalent of $5 a day for every person on the planet.
- Research shows that peace brings prosperity, lower inflation and more jobs.
- Just a 2% reduction in conflict would free up as much money as the global aid budget.
- Report urges governments to improve peacefulness, especially amid COVID-19.
The lush biodiversity of South America's rainforests is rooted in one of the most cataclysmic events that ever struck Earth.
- One especially mysterious thing about the asteroid impact, which killed the dinosaurs, is how it transformed Earth's tropical rainforests.
- A recent study analyzed ancient fossils collected in modern-day Colombia to determine how tropical rainforests changed after the bolide impact.
- The results highlight how nature is able to recover from cataclysmic events, though it may take millions of years.