Escalating fossil fuels costs and rising concern over the related impacts of a changing global climate together with declining costs and increased efficiency of renewable energy sources have stimulated the quest for sustainable energy resources. Renewable energy uses natural resources through differing technologies such as solar power, wind power, biomass, geothermal, and various others as mechanisms to produce energy, mostly through electricity and heat. The challenges posed by energy, climate change, and urban-regional development intersect in important ways.
The Rockefeller Foundation’s President, Judith Rodin, gave a plenary lecture during the American Association for the Advancement of Science 2008 annual meeting (Rodin 2008). She drew stark attention the urban-poverty-climate change nexus. With reference to Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, and the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)., Rodin argued that “environmental degradation, climate change, and poverty are inextricably connected” ...and that, “unplanned urbanization in the developing world will exacerbate the impacts of climate change already experienced by the rural poor.” Rodin cited a UN-HABITAT study projecting that within three decades, one of every three people on earth will live in “near total squalor: packed tightly on ecologically fragile land, lacking sanitation and clean water, vulnerable to the effects of extreme weather.” Dryer conditions punctuated by more extreme weather events (rainstorms) could wreak havoc in certain regions of the world. There is rising concern that climate change may see higher levels of certain types of water- and food-borne contamination along with an increase in certain diseases transmitted by insects (e.g., Lyme disease, West Nile Virus and Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome) (UNEP 2007). At the same time, sea-level rise may inundate low-lying coastal areas.
The significance of the greening of energy production and policy lies within the uncertain future of energy infrastructure and the ability for renewable energy to provide a long- term sustainable alternatives to traditional oil-based systems. The diversification of energy sources is an integral part of the goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, provided that the necessary institutional framework exists to increase the incorporation of these technologies through public policy change as well as their expanded implementation at the local and regional levels.
Climate Change 101: Understanding and Responding to Global Climate Change
(excerpt below copied from a series published by the Pew Center on Global Climate Change and the Pew Center on the States).
The science is clear: climate change is happening, and it is linked directly to human activities that emit greenhouse gases. This overview summarizes the eight-part series Climate Change 101: Understanding and Responding to Global Climate Change. Science and Impacts discusses the most current scientific evidence for climate change and explains its causes and projected impacts. Adaptation discusses these impacts in greater depth, explaining how planning can limit the damage caused by unavoidable climate change, as well as the long-term costs of responding to climate-related impacts. As explored in greater depth in Technological Solutions, a number of technological options exist to avert dangerous climatic change by dramatically reducing greenhouse gas emissions both now and into the future. Cap and Trade explains how a capand- trade program sets a clear limit on greenhouse gas emissions and minimizes the costs of achieving this target, offering an environmentally effective and economically efficient response to climate change. Business Solutions, International Action, State Action, and Local Action describe how business and government leaders at all levels have recognized both the challenge and the vast opportunity dealing with climate change presents. These leaders are responding with a broad spectrum of innovative solutions. To address the enormous challenge of climate change successfully, new approaches are needed at the international level, and the United States must re-engage in the global effort and adopt strong and effective national policies. http://www.pewclimate.org/docUploads/Climate101-Complete-Jan09.pdf
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County of San Diego Climate Action Plan, click here