For more than a century, fossil fuels have been the source of the world’s power. The only thing about it is that it has been harming the environment in the process, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions, carbon emissions, and climate change. And as more and more people become aware of the harmful impact of fossil fuels, they’re looking into safer, alternative energy sources to do their part in helping the environment.
Unfortunately, in their efforts to make positive changes, it’s going to lead to misconceptions in conducting research. This can then sway decisions, and that’s okay… It’s natural to have questions about how renewable energy works and why it’s the better option over fossil fuels because if you’re going to make the switch, you need to understand what you’re switching to.
There are, of course, different ways to generate renewable energy, so it’s understandable to want to know if solar power is the best way to generate clean energy over hydropower or if making the switch really will save on your electric bill… But in searching for answers to those questions, you’re also going to run into mistruths and falsehoods that simply aren’t true…
As you know, you can’t believe everything you see or read online, so to set the record straight, if you’re planning on switching to renewable energy or just considering it, here are some common misconceptions you want to avoid.
Misconceptions About Renewable Energy to Avoid
1. Renewable Energy Sources Can’t Provide Enough Electricity For Your Needs
There is a great concern among skeptics that wind and solar energy can’t meet the world’s growing needs for electricity, especially during certain seasons and times of the day. Well, the funny thing about this particular skepticism is that wind and solar power are infinite resources that can be used all the time; non-renewable sources are actually deteriorating in supply.
According to the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), not only is renewable energy feasible but it’s making the grid more reliable as well. In fact, the US could reach an 80% renewable energy penetration rate by 2050. So to say that renewable energy can’t provide enough electricity to meet the world’s needs is pure blasphemy.
2. Renewable Energy is Expensive
One of the biggest draws to switching to renewable energy is because it lowers your electric bill! Why else do you think people are having solar panels installed on their roofs? To speak further on that, people who aren’t able to have solar panels installed are still able to reap the benefits of renewable energy simply by switching to alternative electricity.
People in Texas are switching electricity providers and are now able to find the least expensive energy rates in TX. It’s cheap because it’s a natural resource that doesn’t require any manmade efforts. People don’t have to invest millions of dollars for the sun to rise or for the wind to blow, therefore, renewable energy is a great way to not only help the environment but also lower your electric bill.
3. Renewable Energy Kills Birds
It’s been said that clean energy kills birds, and that’s just not true. Now, it’s important to note that wind turbines have caused some bird deaths by flying into the turbines but not the way people are making it out to be. According to the National Audubon Society, bird deaths are more likely due to cats, tall buildings, and the greenhouse effect of excessive pollution.
4. Renewable Energy Isn’t a Reliable Source
This myth is more so directed towards solar and wind energy. The theory is that because sun and wind can’t be produced around the clock that it isn’t reliable. Well, this is where people go wrong. Wind and solar energy actually go hand-in-hand.
Wind speeds tend to pick up at night and solar energy is produced during the day but just because they’re not sources that are produced around the clock doesn’t mean that they’re unreliable. Things like batteries and other energy storage sources have made wind and solar energy very reliable sources, giving you the flexibility to use the power whenever you need it.
So, just because the wind isn’t blowing or if the sun isn’t visible to you, that doesn’t mean your house will shut down. Both wind and solar energy are abundant sources. Biomass, hydropower, and geothermal are energy sources that indeed do produce electricity around the clock.
Pope Francis has issued an encyclical, calling for fossil fuels to be “progressively replaced without delay”.
The pontiff urges the richer world to make changes in lifestyle and energy consumption to avert the unprecedented destruction of the ecosystem.
Environmentalists hope the message will spur on nations ahead of the UN climate conference in Paris in December.
However, parts of the document, leaked earlier this week, have already been criticized by some US conservatives.
The document has been dismissed by two Republican presidential candidates.
The encyclical, named “Laudato Si (Be Praised), On the Care of Our Common Home”, aims to inspire everyone – not just Roman Catholics – to protect the Earth.
The 192-page letter, which is the highest level teaching document a pope can issue, lays much of the blame for global warming on human activities.
Pope Francis writes that: “We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will.
“The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the symptoms of sickness evident in the soil, in the water, in the air and in all forms of life.”
The Pope criticizes what he calls a “collective selfishness”, but says that there is still time to stop the damage, calling for an end to consumerism and greed.
Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi launched the pontiff’s second encyclical at a news conference on June 18.
The release comes six months before international leaders gather in Paris to try to seal a deal to reduce carbon emissions.
It has been widely welcomed by environmental groups, with WWF president Yolanda Kakabadse saying it “adds a much-needed moral approach” to the debate on climate change.
Greenpeace leader Kumi Naidoo highlighted passages calling for policies that reduce carbon emissions, including by replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy.
But a leak of the document, published by Italy’s L’Espresso magazine on June 16, got a frosty response from skeptical conservatives in America, including two Roman Catholic presidential candidates.
Presidential hopeful Jeb Bush said he did not get his economic policy from his bishops, cardinals or pope.
Meanwhile Rick Santorum questioned whether Pope Francis was credible on the issue of climate science.
However, many academics have welcomed the pontiff’s input.
The UN’s climate change chief Christiana Figueres says the Pope’s message will influence talks in Paris this year on a deal to tackle global warming.
Developing countries are demanding firmer promises of financial help from rich countries so they can adapt to inevitable changes in the climate and get clean energy to avoid contributing to further warming.
Christiana Figueres said their position would be strengthened by Pope Francis’ insistence that this was the clear moral responsibility of the rich.
The encyclical will be welcomed by poor countries in Africa and Latin America.
The big question is how it will play in the USA, where it has already been dismissed by a Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush, who is a Catholic.
Leading Republicans have warned the UN that they will undo President Barack Obama’s climate policies – so if the encyclical sways any of the conservative Catholics in Congress that could prove significant.
According to new reports, the Rockefeller family, which made its vast fortune from oil, is to sell investments in fossil fuels and reinvest in clean energy.
The Rockefeller Brothers Fund is joining a coalition of philanthropists pledging to rid themselves of more than $50 billion in fossil fuel assets.
The announcement will be made today, September 22, a day before the UN climate change summit opens.
Some 650 individuals and 180 institutions have joined the coalition.
It is part of a growing global initiative called Global Divest-Invest, which began on university campuses several years ago, the New York Times reports.
Pledges from pension funds, religious groups and big universities have reportedly doubled since the start of 2014.
Rockefeller Brothers Fund director Stephen Heintz said the move to divest from fossil fuels would be in line with oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller’s wishes.
The Rockefeller family is to sell investments in fossil fuels and reinvest in clean energy
“We are quite convinced that if he were alive today, as an astute businessman looking out to the future, he would be moving out of fossil fuels and investing in clean, renewable energy,” Stephen Heintz said in a statement.
The philanthropic organization was founded in 1940 by the sons of John D. Rockefeller. As of July 31, 2014, the fund’s investment assets were worth $860 million.
“There is a moral imperative to preserve a healthy planet,” Valerie Rockefeller Wayne, a great-great-granddaughter of John D. Rockefeller and a trustee of the fund, is quoted by the Washington Post as saying.
A climate change summit is due to start on September 23 at the UN headquarters in New York, with 125 heads of state and government members expected to attend.
It is the first such gathering since the unsuccessful climate conference in Copenhagen in 2009.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon hopes leaders can make progress on a universal climate agreement to be signed by all nations at the end of 2015.
On September 21, hundreds of thousands of marchers took to the streets in more than 2,000 locations worldwide, demanding urgent action on climate change and calling for curbs on carbon emissions.
Business leaders, environmentalists and celebrities also joined the demonstrations, which were organized by The People’s Climate March.
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