7 surprising facts about energy

August 20, 2018


1. Fossil fuels are really bad for the environment

You probably know this one. We burn fossil fuels - that’s coal, gas, and oil - for energy. But burning them sends carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The extra carbon in the air traps too much of the sun’s heat, warming up the planet. And that means climate change.

2. That includes fracking and natural gas

Sure, gas is cleaner than coal, but natural gas also produces carbon emissions. Fracking - where we try to get gas out of hard to reach places - is the same story. We need to kick the habit to tackle climate change.

3. Running out of fossil fuels isn’t the problem

There’s a lot still in the ground that we haven’t started drilling there yet. But really, if we’re going to keep global warming under control, we need to stop looking for new sources of fossil fuels. More than that, we need to keep 80% of the fossil fuels we know about in the ground. If we dig them up and burn them, we’ll have some really serious problems.

4. Tackling climate change will be expensive - but not nearly as expensive as not tackling climate change

Tackling climate change means changing the way we do things. Some of the changes will be expensive - but not all. New onshore wind turbines beat fossil fuels on price right now and the costs of other renewables are tumbling.

As for making the expensive changes, letting climate change happen will be a lot more expensive. Cleaning up natural disasters, dealing with new diseases, tackling food shortages and rehoming climate migrants will all cost money - and of course will be really bad. Far easier to make positive changes now to limit those climate impacts.

5. Renewable energy sources are on the rise

Solar, wind, and hydropower are types of renewable energy. They are also called clean power sources because they don’t churn huge amounts of carbon dioxide into the air.

In the UK we’re using more and more renewable energy in our power supply. 15 years ago renewable energy gave us less than 3% of our electricity - now it’s 30%.

6. Renewable energy would win a popularity contest

Ask someone what their favourite source of energy is (as you do) and renewable energy will top the charts. 82% of Brits support renewable energy (just 3% oppose). Solar is the most popular (at 84%) and wind turbines and water power aren’t far behind. Only 33% support nuclear power, and 13% support fracking.

7. Renewable energy is making a difference in developing countries

In rural areas and especially in developing countries, putting up a few solar can connect people to electricity who didn’t have it before. In East Africa, hundreds of thousands of homes now use solar lights instead of dangerous kerosene, and in Nepal, solar panels provide reliable power for hospitals.

This blog post was written by our climate activist pals over at 10:10.