2021-04-15 GENERAL HOUSE

Renewable Energy: The Way forward to Save the Climate

Reflexion from the Secretariat of Solidarity on the Sustainable Development Goals

Renewable energy is often referred to as “clean energy” or “green power” because it is environment friendly. Its sources include solar, geothermal, wind, biomass, and hydropower energies. Renewable energy is considered the energy of the future because it does not cause pollution. The effort to harness and promote affordable and clean energy is one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations’ (7: affordable and clean energy). This goal aims at ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all. Through it, the UN targets universal access to modern energy; it aims to increase the global percentage of renewable energy and double the improvement in energy efficiency, to promote access to research, technology, and investments in clean energy, and to expand and upgrade energy services for developing countries.

Climate and energy experts have pointed out that even though global warming has been happening over the centuries, the pace of warming is accelerating and human activities, particularly the burning of coal, oil, and other fossil fuels, are a primary cause. Experts in the energy and environmental fields agree that the need for transition to alternative energy is urgent and that the best option to mitigate the potentially catastrophic consequences of climate change is to reduce the use of fossil fuels and speed up the transition to renewable forms of energy.

Although renewable energy is often thought of as a new technology, harnessing nature’s power has long been used in many ways. Wind energy has powered boats to sail the seas and windmills to grind grain. Now, wind energy turns turbine’s blades, powers electric generators, and produces electricity. Hydropower is used in many countries to generate electricity. Solar energy is used to heat homes and businesses, to warm water, or power devices. Solar cells made from silicon or other materials transform sunlight directly into electricity. Solar systems are used to generate electricity either through rooftop panels or community projects that power entire neighbourhoods.

Advocating for renewable energy or using it in homes, can accelerate the transition toward a clean energy. A future powered by wind, solar and other renewable sustainable energy sources could save lives besides reducing energy bills. A greener future is attainable provided urgent action is taken by policymakers, business leaders and other stakeholders. Environmental and economic benefits of using renewable energy include generating energy that produces no greenhouse gas, diversifying energy supply as well as reducing dependence on imported fuels. Increasing the supply of renewable energy would replace carbon-intensive energy sources and significantly reduce global warming and climate change by investing in energy-efficient appliances.

In his encyclical, ‘Laudato Sí’, Pope Francis urges people and businesses to reduce the use of fossil fuels and look for substitutes in renewable energy to help save the climate. He equally urges developed countries to help the poor countries in shifting to renewable energy. The considerable progress made by some countries in promoting renewable energy is far from constituting a significant proportion. Hence, here is an urgent need to develop policies so that, in the next few years, the emission of carbon dioxide and other highly polluting gases can be drastically reduced. 


Br. Francis Lukong – Secretariat of Solidarity


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