Today is the 45th annual Earth Day. Looking back at the changes in energy mix, global trends and opinions since the first one, it makes me wonder what is in store for the next 45 years. Are we able to make the right decisions as individuals, companies, countries and as a global collective to ensure that we are able to reduce emissions to a safe level?
In the 1970s, the energy mix was predominately oil and solid fuel, with smaller levels of natural gas. Today we see a continuing to shift to a far wider mix with more natural gas, less coal or solid fuel and a steady rise in the use of renewable sources.
Looking forward to 2070 – when research indicates the global population will peak – fossil fuels will still provide most of the world’s energy needs. However, the mix will shift, with renewables and unconventional fossil fuels taking a larger share, along with gas.
Increased energy demands, along with fossil fuel reliance creates an environmental dilemma. How do we meet this demand but still reduce carbon emissions to peg temperature rises to two degrees? The current rate is not sustainable, despite government policies and intentions and it highlights the scale of the task facing this year’s UN-led discussions in Paris. No single change or policy is likely to be sufficient on its own. It’s going to take fundamental change in thinking from numerous parties to get us there.
So how can we all help? Earth Days give us the focus to do something different, to change a habit, or challenge yourself to make a positive difference. More than a billion people participate each year – so see what’s going on locally, or start something for your office, team, or family!
Make your Earth Day count.